Pence Pilgrimage to the Largest House GOP Group Latest in Potential 2024 Building Blocks
Former Vice President Mike Pence met with a group of Republican congressmembers Wednesday on Capitol Hill to map out his vision of a House GOP agenda should the party take the lower chamber majority in November.
Pence detailed his “freedom agenda” to a room of dozens of members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), of which he once served as chair before becoming Indiana governor and later vice president.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), a fellow Hoosier and the current RSC chair, spoke to Breitbart News in an interview after attending the private RSC event. Banks said political leaders like Pence, as well as others in the potential 2024 arena such as Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) or former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, have been drawn to meeting with the massive 168-member caucus that is the “heart and soul of the Republican Conference.”
The RSC is “building the roadmap for what Republicans need to do to not just win back the majority but to save our country and keep the majority for a long time to come,” Banks said, adding, “And our voters and Republican leaders, all of us are hungry for leadership of substance, and the RSC is providing it unlike ever before, and especially in this important moment.”
— RSC (@RepublicanStudy) July 20, 2022
Pence’s appearance comes as murmurs about former President Donald Trump making an early announcement for a third bid for the presidency ramp up, and as many in the media, such as the New York Times and CNN, remain hyperfocused on Pence and Trump’s relationship as it relates to 2020 controversies about alleged voter fraud and the January 6 Capitol riot.
“This morning’s meeting was not about January 6. It didn’t even come up except for one comment that’s already been leaked,” Banks clarified, in reference to several reports that Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stood up during the event and thanked Pence for “defending” the “Constitution” in January 2021.
Banks said of the Roy comment, “That exchange in our meeting this morning was a blip. It was very small. It was like one second of an hour-long dialogue about our agenda when we get the majority back.”
Banks said Pence highlighted his 28-page freedom agenda, which Politico first published in March. The ambitious three-pronged plan lays out policies relating to American culture, opportunity, and leadership, and covers nearly every top issue, from border security to energy costs to crime, education, abortion, labor, taxation, manufacturing, and more.
A Pence adviser quipped to Breitbart News of the plan that it does not include any tax increases, a comment that comes after Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the chair of the campaign arm for Senate Republicans, released an 11-point plan with a controversial tax increase provision.
Scott’s plan was also criticized by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as unnecessary at the time of its release.
Banks said that in an “obvious contrast to the Senate,” Pence on Wednesday drove home the point to House lawmakers that running on an agenda creates a “mandate” to advance that agenda. “If you run on nothing, you have a mandate to do nothing,” Banks said, adding that the contrast with the Senate will become even “more obvious when Leader McCarthy rolls out our House Republican agenda,” which McCarthy plans to do in September.
Pence has remained active in the political scene since departing the White House, campaigning for candidates, attending speaking engagements, and visiting the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Pence’s meeting with the RSC comes just after the former vice president appeared at a gathering Tuesday evening with several of McCarthy’s “young guns” congressional candidates, and just before he was set to deliver a speech about post-Roe America in South Carolina Wednesday evening and attend campaign events in Arizona on Friday.
Pence, who is fervently pro-life and pro-family, spoke Wednesday during his speech to Florence Baptist Temple about the “new chapter in American history” following Roe being “relegated to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” according to a copy of his remarks.
On Friday in Arizona, Pence will campaign for Karrin Taylor Robson, on the same day and in the same state that Trump will hold a rally for Robson’s top opponent, Kari Lake. The competing events will create a closely watched split-screen moment illustrative of the proxy wars playing out ahead of 2024 between Trump and various other GOP factions.
Pence staying so strategically involved and influential has perpetuated speculation that Pence could run — potentially against Trump — in the 2024 presidential primary, but the Pence adviser said the former vice president is laser-focused on the 2022 midterms, which largely dictate how Republicans will fare in 2024.
Banks said Pence only praised the Trump agenda and the Trump-Pence administrative pursuits during the RSC meeting.
Banks also noted the RSC plans to work with Trump himself on plans for advancing Trump’s America First agenda and broke the news Friday to Breitbart News that the RSC would in fact be meeting with Trump at his residence in Bedminster, New Jersey, in early August.