Trump’s VP Pick Learns How Bills Don’t Become Law

By tapping Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for his ticket, Donald Trump turned to an established Washington hand: Pence, who spent six terms in the House, also served in the House Republican leadership as Republican Conference chairman from 2009 to 2011.

But there was one thing the Hoosier had little experience doing during his tenure as a House lawmaker: making laws.


During his time in the House, including four terms in the majority, Pence was the lead sponsor of only 18 bills, according to None of his bills ever made it to the House floor for debate, and only one—a 2005 measure to eliminate aggregate limits on individuals’ campaign contributions to federal candidates and political action committees—actually won a House committee’s approval.

Of course, shepherding a bill from introduction to enactment is but one measure of a lawmaker’s effectiveness. Pence did, for example, win adoption for a handful of amendments to bills over the years, and as chairman of the Republican Study Committee from 2005 to 2007, he was positioned to influence the House agenda.

In the end, Pence had the last laugh on scrapping aggregate campaign contribution limits. While his bill died without action by the full House, the Supreme Court struck down the Watergate-era restrictions on individual contributions nine years later, finding in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that the limits were unconstitutional.