Despite a commitment to “fiscal responsibility” throughout his career in public office, Mike Pence has cited the ongoing public health crisis as sufficient cause for an exception.
According to the Daily Caller, the vice president said that the desperate times caused by COVID-19 call for desperate measures, specifically setting aside one deeply held conservative virtue — at least for the time being.
A nuanced position
Pence’s sobering diagnosis came during an exclusive interview this week with the Daily Caller.
Earlier this year, lawmakers agreed on the terms of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus bill that tipped the scales as the most expensive in U.S. history.
As legislators on both sides of the aisle remain deadlocked amid negotiations of a new stimulus bill, the vice president is apparently urging his own party to loosen the belt when it comes to even more federal spending on COVID-19 relief.
His remarks came amid the staggering economic toll caused by the coronavirus-related shutdowns. As one example, the national debt is on course to surpass the gross domestic product next year and is already reaching World War II-era levels.
Nevertheless, Pence signaled the administration’s willingness to spare no expense in ensuring struggling Americans have the resources necessary to stay afloat until the pandemic has passed.
“President Trump has made it clear we believe providing additional direct support to families, providing additional support and extension of the kind of programs that have literally saved more than 50 million jobs around the country, and other assistance, is absolutely essential to bring our economy all the way back,” he said, according to the Daily Caller.
“We’re going to roll our sleeves up”
While the current situation might call for a drastic response, Pence vowed that economic conservatism will be a priority when the nation emerges on the other side.
“That being said, once we find our way through this global pandemic in the second term of this president’s administration, we’re going to roll our sleeves up,” he said. “And, and look to, you know, restore fiscal responsibility to the federal budget.”
Republicans have been reluctant to agree to the trillions in spending being promoted by Democrats — and for good reason, as many fiscal conservatives would argue.
Perhaps the stance Pence expressed this week will give the GOP enough cover to make the first move in restarting negotiations on Capitol Hill.