Pence calls on House to ‘keep an open mind’ on Boehner plan

Pence said he has long championed a plan to tie debt-ceiling increases to short and long-term spending cuts, and said Boehner's "two-step" proposal meets that standard. Boehner's plan aims to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years right away, and require Congress to take steps cutting another $1.8 trillion by the end of this year.

"All of this commends the Boehner plan as an important first step toward fiscal discipline and reform," Pence said.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the plan would actually cut $850 billion over a decade.

Pence's soft endorsement of Boehner's plan could help corral the needed Republican votes to approve it later this week. A vote is expected Thursday or Friday in the House.

But Pence also stressed the importance of also tying the plan to a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. He said both parties in recent years have shown that "Washington, D.C., is not only broke, it's broken," and said it is time to press ahead with an amendment to the Constitution that would ensure federal spending is controlled.

"I rise to urge all of my colleagues to keep an open mind on the Boehner plan, but also to keep an open mind about bringing a balanced-budget amendment to the floor that could enjoy broad, bipartisan support," he said.

Pence added that it is possible to win bipartisan support for a balanced-budget amendment, and said he had spoken with Democrats that morning who could support it.

"I've talked to some of the most prominent members of the Democrat minority in this Congress today, and they've expressed support for this amendment," he said.

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