Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), chairman of the House Republican Conference, appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to play down Obama’s strong defense of his administration’s policies at Friday’s House GOP retreat in Baltimore. Trying to refute the claim that Republicans have become a “party of no,” Pence replied:
PENCE: Well, look, in the last year, you know, frankly Steve, there were a number of bills that we did support the administration on, most especially regarding our troops and regarding our veterans. We kept our word. We set politics aside and stood strongly with the president in his call for reinforcement and for funding.
Though Pence said that Republicans found common ground with the President on troop funding in 2009, in reality Republicans in both the House and Senate have blocked defense spending for political reasons. On Oct. 8, Pence joined House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and 129 other Republicans in the House in voting against the 2010 Department of Defense Authorization bill. Pence and Boehner opposed the bill because the measure included “hate crimes provisions designed to protect gays and lesbians.”
Republicans in the Senate followed Pence and Boehner’s obstructionist lead in December, filibustering the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act as a way of delaying the Senate health care vote. As the Washington Times reported:
The Senate early Friday headed off a Republican filibuster on the final spending bill of the year, clearing the way both for the bill’s passage and for the final endgame on a health care bill.
Republicans had tried to drag out the debate on the $636.3 billion 2010 defense spending bill as a way of delaying a return to the health care debate, which Democrats are trying to finish by Christmas.
Contrary to Pence’s assertions that Republicans have marched lockstep with the president on defense funding, the record clearly shows that Republicans have had no problem playing “political football” with support for U.S. troops and veterans.