Appearing on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour on Sunday morning, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) denies that Republicans threatened to shut down the government over funding to Planned Parenthood, even though he did exactly that five days before. Pence said Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) criticism of how Republicans used the budget fight to impose their right-wing policies on the country was “nonsense”:
Let me say, first off, it’s nonsense to say that Republicans were willing to shut down the government over this.
However, on Tuesday, Pence told MSNBC’s Willie Geist that “of course” he was willing to “hold up this entire budget over defunding Planned Parenthood.”
“I have never advocated reducing funding to Title X,” Pence told Amanpour, even though he has voted to eliminate the entire program, which provides funding to family planning services for five million low-income Americans a year, but excludes abortion.
VAN HOLLEN: Look, these guys took this to the brink not only to do something that won’t create a job, but also to impose their own right wing policies on the country. And —
PENCE: Ha ha.
VAN HOLLEN: No, we can disagree about a very controversial issue, and we do. But using this budget process to try and impose that position on the country, and threaten shutdown of our government is just wrong.
AMANPOUR: Why did you need to do that at this time? Why muddy the waters, since you were really about money and spending cuts?
PENCE: Let me say, first off, I mean it’s nonsense to say that Republicans were willing to shut down the government over this. Speaker John Boehner made it clear that the policy issues, including my amendment on abortion providers, had been negotiated, at the time that — I think it’s in The Washington Post this morning. What was clear here, is that this administration, and liberals in Congress were willing to shut the government down to continue to fund abortion providers in this country. And that’s the bottom line. Why would I fight for it? Let me explain. I’m pro life. I don’t apologize for it. I also think it’s morally wrong to take the tax dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use it to fund abortion providers.
AMANPOUR: But you know the federal funds don’t do that?
PENCE: Well, look. In February of this year, the Pence amendment passed by 240 votes. It denied federal funding to Planned Parenthood of America. I’ve never advocated reducing funding to Title X. They tried to make this about women’s health. It wasn’t about that. Planned Parenthood’s clinics, Chris, focus mainly on abortion. In 2009, Planned Parenthood —
VAN HOLLEN: You’ve had a lot of time on this issue.
AMANPOUR: Quick, because I want to move on.
VAN HOLLEN: The facts, not one penny of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood or anybody else for abortion. What Mike and his colleagues tried to do is use a funding bill, a spending bill to impose changes in law that should be debated, but not as part of this —
PENCE: But, the bottom line is —
AMANPOUR: I need to go forward now, because you made your position clear, sir, you made it clear. I understand where you stand on this.