OTR Interviews

Pence: We're Fighting for the Values of the American People in the Way That We Spend Their Money

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Is our government shutting down? Congressman Mike Pence joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. MIKE PENCE, R-IND.: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so where do we stand? You have a House bill that -- and have you had a counteroffer from the Senate?

PENCE: Well, look, the House bill is HR-1. We passed a bill that in the -- remember in the face of a $1.65 trillion deficit this year alone, we're asking liberals in the Senate to join with us to find $61 billion in savings -- $61 billion.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is less than 2 percent of our total budget. It's not...

PENCE: Exactly, and...

VAN SUSTEREN: But it's not -- it's not a huge...

PENCE: And we're also fighting to defund "Obamacare." We're fighting to defund Planned Parenthood. But HR-1 is the Republican position. Now, Republicans will go to the floor -- last week, what we did was renew our commitment to HR-1. Tomorrow we're going to go to the floor and we're going to make sure that our troops come first. We're going to make sure we fund our troops through the balance of the year and pass a one-week stopgap measure to keep this fight going on. But Republicans are fighting and fighting hard to change the fiscal direction of our national government. But as you can see, it's taken a real fight.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, the meeting's going on right now at the White House. We're waiting to see what happens when the two leaders emerge from the White House. But in the meantime, HR-1 was passed when -- and the Senate has not come with a counteroffer to HR-1.

PENCE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, tomorrow, your continuing resolution, though, if I got this right -- it's almost an effort to -- my word -- checkmate your opponents because what it does is it funds the troops until the end of September and it's a $21 billion cut, something they have opposed. So if they don't adopt that, suddenly, they look like they're not for the troops, not for paying the troops.

PENCE: Well, look -- look, nobody...

VAN SUSTEREN: You're checkmating them!

PENCE: Yes, I...

(LAUGHTER)

PENCE: Well, I don't know if we're checkmating. But we're trying -- we're trying to score a victory for the Republican people, for -- for the American -- for the Republican people -- trying to score a victory for the American people, not for the Republican Party. That victory is going to come in stages here.

I think first thing we have to do is make sure the troops come first. We have to make sure that our troops that are in harm's way as we speak in Afghanistan and Iraq -- we're involved now in a war in Libya -- we need to make sure there's no disruption in the flow of resources to our troops all over the world, especially those that are down-ranked. And in so doing that, then I think Republicans are going to be in a position to continue to fight for taxpayers, to continue to fight to defund "Obama care" and defund abortion providers.

VAN SUSTEREN: I should tell viewers that what they just saw a few seconds ago is the -- are microphones that are all set up outside the White House, hoping that the two leaders, the House and the Senate leader, will step up to the microphones. This meeting that's going on right now -- president just got home from a trip about an hour ago and summoned them. What would you expect the president to be doing at this particular meeting?

PENCE: Well, look, I -- I was in Republican leadership in the last Congress, you know, and I spent more than a few days down at the White House in the cabinet meeting. And what I hope is happening is that the president of the United States is saying to the leader of his party in the Senate, Come on. It's time to step up. The Republicans are asking for a very modest step in the direct of fiscal responsibility.

And Harry Reid began this process by calling it reckless, irresponsible. It was remarkable tonight that Harry Reid went to the floor of the Senate and called our efforts to fund our troops through the end of this fiscal year a diversion.

Now, my hope is that the president is telling Harry Reid and liberals in the Senate to tone it down, Let's focus on what is in the best interests of the American people, and is sending that kind of a message because so far, we've just run into resistance and recalcitrance. And as you pointed out, Republicans have passed HR-1 in the House not once but twice, and over the course of more than 40 days, Democrats have not succeeded in the Senate in passing one single bill to keep this government funded.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think their number is? Do you have any idea what the Democrats' number is? Because it's sort of an interesting -- is that you have $61 billion. We know -- you got your number on the table. But what do you think the Senate number is?

PENCE: Well, I just -- I think -- I think a lot of liberals in the Senate are just allergic to spending cuts. I mean, it was remarkable to me that we started out...

VAN SUSTEREN: They don't have a number?

PENCE: Well, $3 billion or $4 billion in cuts and then $10 billion in cuts...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the reason why I ask is because right now, the president is, you know, twisting the arms of those two leaders right there in that White House. And if the number is $2 billion compared to, like -- suppose their numbers is $59 billion, then it's close. We're not going to have a shutdown. But if it's way off, the president's going to have to do an awful lot of arm twisting right now.

PENCE: But the point -- the point -- liberals in the Senate are out of touch with the American people and they're out of touch with the fiscal crisis facing this country. We have a $14 trillion national debt. Again, I'll say a $1.65 trillion deficit this year alone. House Republicans, in an unprecedentedly open process, including many bipartisan amendments -- my amendment defunding Planned Parenthood passed on a bipartisan basis on the floor of the House of Representatives. We found -- we found the initial down payment on fiscal discipline was $61 billion. We think that's the number. We're fighting for that number. And we're also fighting to respect the values of the American people in the way that we spend their money.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir.

PENCE: Thank you, Greta.