Moments ago, by a vote of 247-161, the House passed a bill to provide emergency funding for teachers and increased Medicaid payments to states that will also help prevent public sector layoffs. Even though the $26 billion bill is fully funded, most Republicans voted no. “Where do the bailouts end?” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) picked up on that theme today on ABC’s Top Line, calling it a “massive state bailout.” When host Z. Byron Wolf asked what the GOP plan would be to help teachers who are about to lose their jobs — particularly the 3,600 in Indiana, Pence didn’t have much to offer:
PENCE: Well, look I’m married to a school teacher. My wife spent more than a decade in a public school classroom. So I love teachers! Teachers, firefighters, policemen are all Americans and they all know that the economic policies of bailouts and handouts have failed to create jobs.
Pence’s shallow response to teachers losing their jobs indicates just how bereft of ideas the GOP is. Republicans are regularly asked how they would address the challenges facing the country and time and again, they can’t think of anything. Pence himself was in this position last week when he was asked to differentiate today’s GOP from President Bush. His answer? We are “pro-growth.” Also, the Indiana congressman couldn’t identify any GOP agenda items for this year’s mid-term elections. “You just wait and see,” he said.
During the Top Line segment, Pence attacked the aid bill, saying, “I don’t think there been nearly enough conversation about the fact that they’re raising taxes…to pay for temporary spending in one more bailout.” So who is Pence defending here? Big multinational corporations. In order to finance the state aid, the bill will close corporate tax loopholes that allow multinationals to claim domestic tax credits. Moreover, the CBO said the bill will decrease the deficit by $1.3 billion over 10 years.
Pence seems to recognize that he and his Party has nothing to offer other than outright obstruction. “Some folks like to call us the ‘Party of No.’ Well, I say ‘no’ is way underrated in Washington, D.C. Sometimes ‘no’ is just what this town needs to hear,” Pence said in February.