Before Mike Pence was bestowed the responsibility of governor of Indiana, he served six terms in Congress from 2001-2013. While it sometimes seems that his political viewpoints have been blindly thrown onto the state of Indiana within the past few years (take RFRA and HEA1337, for example), his congressional record shows that his political viewpoints have been longstanding for the better part of 15 years.
With Pence being a top contender for Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, now is an important time to take a look at exactly who Mike Pence is, and how he votes.
As a Republican member of Congress, Pence strongly opposed the Affordable Care Act and worked to decrease tax hikes. He worked to strongly limit reproductive rights, advocated for conservatism in traditional marriage, voted no on government bailouts and stimulus packages, and voted no for additional federal funding for education, amongst many other things.
During his time in Congress, Pence worked hard to push a far-right agenda and was known to frequently bring his religious agenda into his political positions. Regarding marriage, Pence is quoted as saying:
“The future of conservatism demands that we stand for the traditional definition of marriage. Marriage was ordained by God and instituted in law. It is the glue of the American family and the safest harbor to raise children. Conservatives must defend traditional marriage by passing the Federal Marriage Amendment.”
(Source: Speech at 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 8, 2008)
The Federal Marriage Act was introduced in Congress in 2008, and aimed to legally define marriage as a union between only a man and a woman. Pence voted yes on a constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage illegal, no on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, no on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes, and has been rated a 0 percent by the HRC for his anti-gay-rights stances.
Time and again, Pence voted against measures to increase government funding for those living in poverty and on welfare. He voted no on providing additional funding for Section 8 Vouchers, no to increasing minimum wage, no to expanding Medicare, no to expanding State Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility and funding, and no on $84 million in grants for colleges where the majority of the student population live below the poverty line.
Environmentally, Pence’s congressional track record leans far to the right as well. He strongly opposed replacing coal and oil with alternatives, and opposes EPA regulations of greenhouse gases. Pence voted no on tax incentives for renewable energy, yes on authorization of construction of new oil refineries, and yes on the drilling of the outer continental shelf.
On the issue of immigration, Pence worked in Congress to end birthright citizenship, a proposal that aimed to deny children automatic citizenship if they were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant parents. He also supported an effort to build a fence on the Mexican border. He voted yes on reporting aliens who receive hospital treatment and has repeatedly voted yes on bills related to restricting immigration.
Pence is a big advocate for second amendment rights and has been given the grade of an A+ by the NRA.
Mike Pence has a 7 percent rating by the ACLU and a 22 percent rating by the NAACP.
A potential Donald Trump presidency with Mike Pence at his side is certainly an interesting prospect. Perhaps no one can sum up why Pence and Trump go together effortlessly other than Pence himself, “More than anything else, let me be clear - we need to be willing to fight for freedom, and free markets, and traditional moral values. That's what the American people want to see this movement and this party return to.”
And perhaps no one can sum up Mike Pence other than himself, “I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”