Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee

Former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceJan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official Pence: 'I know I did the right thing' on Jan. 6 Midterm elections loom over Supreme Court abortion fight MORE huddled with senior members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) for roughly two hours on Tuesday to discuss conservatives’ agenda and the GOP’s path forward. 

Pence — who previously served as the chairman of the RSC — told GOP lawmakers that he maintains a strong relationship with former President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE and will play a role in defending the administration’s record moving forward, RSC Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) told reporters following the meeting.  

Pence’s remarks on his relationship with Trump come in the wake of the former president pressuring him not to certify President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE's Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, a process that was interrupted by the deadly insurrection at the Capitol. 

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Trump and a number of his allies have voiced plans to take aim at lawmakers who have rebuked Trump, with primary challenges already starting to emerge against GOP members who voted to impeach the former president. 

But Banks said he sees Pence playing a unifying role in the party moving forward as the GOP fights to take back the majority. 

“Mike Pence is a statesman, he's an optimist and he's a unifier. That's what makes him unique and our moment and that's why I think he's, he'll have a powerful moment in the future,” he said. 

“We talked about why he's going to be doing moving forward and he will be launching his efforts in the near future and his efforts will be related to defending the Trump-Pence record and he played a large part of and that House Republicans played a large part of. And as far as he's concerned, and as far as I think we're concerned, Republicans are more unified than some are giving us credit for.”

Banks said that Pence likened the political climate in 2021 to that of 2009, just ahead of when Republicans picked up a significant number of seats. 

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According to Banks, the former vice president also compared Democrats' $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill to a massive spending bill supported by the Obama administration that passed without bipartisan support, advocating for a message of fiscal responsibility heading into the next election cycle.  

“He framed it this way — that the Democrats are overreaching. A huge, huge spending bill that's on the floor now is a lot like the big spending bill that they had on the floor back then — zero Republicans voted for that,” he continued. 

“And when Republicans opposed it, the media said that there is no way Republicans will ever win the majority again. And then we won, then 2010 happened, we won the majority and the rest is history. So, the vice president encouraged us with that, really with the message to keep doing what we're doing.” 

Members of the RSC are slated to meet with former senior Trump adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Midterms are coming: Will we get answers on Jan. 6 before it's too late? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP dealt 2022 blow, stares down Trump-era troubles MORE, former Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan and former Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Tom Homan to discuss immigration on Wednesday.