Rep. Mike Pence disagrees with the stimulus and voted against it but wants more of it for his state. "The Democrats in Congress and the administration said we were going to have to borrow nearly a trillion dollars from future generations and spend it on this -- this long laundry list of liberal spending priorities we called stimulus and that unless we did that, unemployment would reach 8% nationally. It's 9.5% nationally today," Pence told Fox News' Chris Wallace.
But Pence charges that Indiana isn't getting enough money from the very program that he doesn't support. "You check the Indiana Star, you'll see stories about the stimulus. One is that four out of ten major projects in the stimulus for Indiana had been allotted to companies outside the state of Indiana," complained Pence.
Transcript below the fold.
WALLACE: Let's start with the economy and some recent signs of progress. Let's put them up on the screen.
The economy was down only 1 percent last quarter, after a 6.4 percent drop the prior three months. New home sales soared 11 percent in June. And the stock market had its best month in seven years.
Congressman, isn't the recession leveling off? And doesn't President Obama deserve some credit?
PENCE: Well, let me say I hope the recession is leveling off. Slowing the rate of descent is encouraging, I'm sure, to millions of Americans. But I really believe that it's in spite of the prescriptions of Washington, D.C., Chris.
I mean, this so-called stimulus bill that -- you know, that was passed last February -- we've lost 2 million jobs since the stimulus bill was passed.
And I think what we're seeing in the economy now is the inherent resilience of the American economy and the American people.
And while those -- while those numbers are encouraging, what we ought to be doing is pursuing the kind of broad-based prescription for recovery and stimulating this economy that has always worked, which is fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C. and tax relief for working families, small businesses and family farms.
WALLACE: All right. Let's look at the stimulus bill which you voted against. The Democratic National Committee, as I'm sure you know, is running a radio ad in Indiana in which they note that the stimulus package is funding public works projects across the state and in your home district. Let's listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) NARRATOR: These projects are creating and saving jobs and boosting our economy. So when you see that sign that says this project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, you can say, "No, thanks," to Mike Pence .
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman, "No, thanks," to Mike Pence ?"
PENCE: Well, let me say Indiana's lost 20,000 jobs since the so- called stimulus bill was passed.
WALLACE: But nobody -- excuse me. Nobody said that the stimulus bill was going to stop the recession.
PENCE: Well, now, hold on a second. The Democrats in Congress and the administration said that we were going to have to borrow nearly a trillion dollars from future generations and spend it on this -- this long laundry list of liberal spending priorities that we called stimulus and that unless we did that, unemployment would reach 8 percent nationally.
It's 9.5 percent nationally today. In my beloved Indiana, it's 10.7 percent and still rising, Chris. I mean, the reality is that, you know, borrowing a trillion dollars from future generations of Americans and spreading it around the economy is going to have some catalytic effect in the economy in the short term, but again, it's no substitute for fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C. and tax relief across the board for working families and small businesses.
WALLACE: But I want to ask you about another report, and we're going to put it up on the screen. More than 2,400 people are now at work on federal-stimulus-funded roadway projects in Indiana.
"What's clear is that the stimulus projects have boosted an industry otherwise floundering in Indiana." And that is not from the DNC. That's from the Evansville, Indiana Courier & Press.
PENCE: Right. That's right. I saw that report as well. To be honest with you, though, I've talked to officials with the Indiana Department of Transportation, and no one's really sure where that number came from, Chris.
But, look. Republicans were always prepared earlier this year to support funding for roads and bridges and infrastructure. It's unfortunate that that was such an infinitesimally small portion of the stimulus bill that was passed by the Congress earlier this year.
If you check the Indianapolis Star this morning you'll see a couple of stories about the stimulus. One is that four out of 10 major projects in the stimulus for Indiana had been allotted to companies outside the state of Indiana.
And this weatherization funding -- Governor Daniels has expressed some frustration in newspapers this morning that Indiana's gotten no funding from -- they've been...
WALLACE: Yeah, but I don't understand.
PENCE: ... conditionally approved for that. All of this...
WALLACE: First you're saying the stimulus is bad. Now you're saying you're just not getting your fair share of it.
PENCE: Well, what I'm saying is that this piecemeal approach -- government handouts through a government bureaucracy -- is no substitute for broad-based tax relief and fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C.
Chris, the quickest way to get money into this economy is not to take it in the first place. And Republicans fought for broad-based tax relief.
We fought for fiscal discipline all year long, opposing the stimulus, opposing runaway spending in the budget, opposing the national energy tax and cap and trade and this government takeover of health care with its higher taxes, and we're going to continue to make that fight.