“The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that was our message today and it will be our message on Capitol Hill, and it needs to be done,” Pence told reporters. “Not just as a promise kept, but because in the course of this election, the American people have a choice.”
The American people, Pence explained, overwhelmingly chose to dispose of one of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement by electing Trump.
“What appeared to many as against all odds, often times with overwhelming opposition, our president-elect took his case to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare and the American people voted decisively for a better future for healthcare in this country,” he said. “We are determined to give them that.”
Pence, who was a congressman for 12 years before serving as Indiana’s governor, recalled his time in the House and accused Democrats of breaking the promises made at the time.
“The reality is that I was here in March of 2010 in another capacity when Obamacare was signed into law,” Pence said alongside other GOP leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan. “I remember all those promises. We were told that if you like your doctor, you can keep it. Not true.”
The vice-president-elect promised a “careful” replacement of the law, in an effort to alleviate concerns that a straight repeal of Obamacare would leave many including those with pre-existing conditions without healthcare.
“It will be important that we be careful that…we do that in a way that doesn’t work a hardship on American families that have gained insurance through this program. That it doesn’t work a hardship on this economy,” he said.
Pence cautioned that Obamacare’s full repeal will not be immediate, but said President-elect Trump will begin implementing policies that fulfill his campaign promises on his first day in office.
“We are going to be in the promise-keeping business. The president-elect campaigned all across this country. He gave voice to the frustrations and the aspirations of the American people. He laid out an agenda to make America great again. And my message on his behalf today, before this conference and before members of the Senate is that we intend to keep those promises,” he said. “Working with the Congress we are going to have that classic three part agenda that the president-elect talked about so often on the campaign trail: Jobs, jobs, jobs.”
The Trump administration will urgently work with Congress to roll back the “onerous” regulations that have been stifling the American economy and national security, Pence assured.
“We are going to be working with the Congress over the course of the next several months to construct the kind of tax reform for businesses and individuals to unleash the bound up energy in the American economy,” he said. “We are going to keep our promises to end illegal immigration—build a wall. We’ll have an infrastructure built. We will invest in rebuilding our military, as our commander-in-chief martial strategies with our military commanders to hunt down and destroy ISIS.”