Mike Pence to Vote No on Tax Deal

Mike Pence Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) (R) addresses a rally organized by Americans for Progress on Capitol Hill November 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. Associated with the Tea Party movement, Americans for Progress members and supporters rallied to "send a clear message to Washington that voters have spoken this November and that politicians should not pursue big government policies in the Lame Duck session."

(November 14, 2010 - Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)

Republican Representative from Indiana, Mike Pence, has pledge to vote no on the tax cut compromise plan being championed by Republican “leadership” and President Obama.

The Hill: Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the outgoing chairman of the House Republican Conference and a possible candidate for governor or president in 2012, joined the ranks of conservatives who have come out in opposition to the tax-cut plan before Congress.
“At the end of the day, I’ve just come to the conclusion: the American people did not vote for more stimulus,” Pence said on conservative talker Sean Hannity’s radio show. “Therefore, I will not vote for this tax deal when it comes to the floor of the House of Representatives.”

Pence joins the ranks of conservatives, many of whom have ties to the Tea Party movement, who have opposed the deal. The Indiana Republican echoed their arguments against the bill; Pence said the 13-month extension of unemployment benefits would only bloat the deficit, and that extending the tax rates for only two years wouldn’t provide adequate certainty in the markets.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), another opponent of the tax deal, had joined with Pence to float a bill to extend all expiring tax rates permanently. Pence said he would approach the House Rules Committee to inquire about an opportunity to vote on a permanent extension of tax cuts.

If that doesn’t succeed, Pence said he would rather wait for Republicans to take over control of the House on Jan. 5 and address the tax cuts at that point.

Pence finds himself in unusual company opposing the proposed bill with many on the Far Left pledging to vote no as well seeing the extension of current tax rates to the “wealthy” as undesirable.  With his Party leadership on board for its passage, Pence is taking a position to stand on principle and save the fight for a new session of Congress in January – a position that may find him short on company.

Mike Pence U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) answers reporters questions during a news conference at the U.S. Captiol December 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Pence and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced the Tax Relief Certainty Act, a bill that would permanently extend the Bush-era tax cuts to all Americans.

(December 1, 2010 - Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)

Such a lonely posture is nothing new for Pence as he is often one of the only voices of reason and sanity in a city utterly lacking in both.  He rarely waits for the tide of public sentiment to shift in favor of his positions, and that is in part why I think he is among the last beacons of hope for our Party and the ideas it supposedly represents.  He stands on principle even when doing so flies in the face of everything his Party leaders are calling for – not because it is politically expedient, but because it is the right thing to do.

So what should we make of all this?  Is the bill going to pass either way?  The answer is likely in the affirmative whether we like it or not; Pence standing on principle or not.  The reality really takes two fronts.  First, in the Senate, they have done what they can for the most part on this legislation.  The piling on of pork and pet projects is despicable, but at the end of the day, a compromised plan is typically just that – compromised; and they simply do not have and will not have the votes to get a better deal.

But the other front is that of the House.  Republicans there find themselves in a position not afforded to Senate Republicans.  They are just weeks away from having a majority, and I fail to see where or why a compromised plan such as this is in any way appropriate.  Sure, with the new session and Republican control also comes the threat of Presidential veto and the potential for legislation to stalemate in the Senate, but wouldn’t this be a great time to send a message to the American People that the days of doing business as usual in Washington end with the new session of Congress?

As you probably know, I supported this deal’s passage when it was announced, but threats of defections from the Left have led this thing to be filled with Washington nonsense, and has subsequently left the resulting legislation undesirable.  It may be characterized as kicking the debate down the road; it may appear to be a very public betrayal of the President; but at the end of the day, it is the only thing left to do for House Republicans.  Stand for something folks… for once in your political lives, make it about more than political expediency.

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Allahpundit reports that defections may not matter… this thing’s going to pass the House either way.

I thought we were looking at 150 or so Republican votes in the House plus 70 or so Democrats, most of whom would be Blue Dogs. Instead, maybe we’re looking at something more on the order of 110 from each side? That leaves Obama with a lot bigger cushion to lose hardliners.

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