January 26, 2017

Pence tells Congress to ‘buckle up’ and get ready to enact major change

PHILADELPHIA — Vice President Pence told Republican members of Congress on Thursday to "buckle up" and get ready to work with the new Trump administration on everything from repealing Obamacare to confirming a "strict constructionist" to fill the Supreme Court.

"My friends, this is our moment," he told lawmakers at a GOP congressional retreat in downtown Philadelphia.. "We got this far because President Donald Trump marshaled a movement unlike any movement in American history."

Pence, a former congressman and Indiana governor, said the challenges facing Congress and the White House are large and urgent.

"President Trump and I will forge a strong working relationship with the Congress and with all of you to enact the laws that will serve the American people," the vice president said, promising not to "bypass" Congress as he accused the Obama administration of doing. "We’re all one party and we’re all striving to achieve the same objective."

In addition to writing a new health care law to replace the Affordable Care Act, Pence said the administration's top goals are boosting military spending; improving and expanding America's highways, bridges, airports and public transit systems; and cutting government regulations. Congressional leaders have been talking about a nearly identical agenda at their retreat this week.

Pence, who will be attending the March for Life anti-abortion event in Washington on Friday, said he he was especially happy that Trump signed an executive order restoring a ban on giving U.S. funds to international groups that provide or discuss abortion services. Pence will become the highest-ranking government official to speak in person at the annual march.

"Just this week, this pro-life president reinstated the Mexico City policy banning public funding of abortion," he said. "As another pro-life American, I couldn’t be more proud."

Pence said he was glad to be back in Pennsylvania, which gave Trump an upset victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election.

"We owe Pennsylvania a debt of gratitude and thanks," he said. "We also have to return the favor. We need to repay the hard working people of Pennsylvania and people everywhere who yearn for a better future."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called Pence "the epitome of a happy warrior" as he introduced the vice president at the retreat.

"Mike Pence is the glue that keeps us all together focused and fixed on our shared timelines and challenges," Ryan said. "He makes all of us better."

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