Pence releases lengthy policy agenda ahead of midterms and amid 2024 speculation

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday released a 25-point policy agenda ahead of this year’s midterm elections offering a potential preview of his campaign platform should he run for president in 2024.

Pence’s lengthy platform hits on key popular conservative ideas like school choice, lower taxes, fewer government regulations and reduced federal spending. It also includes a number of prominent culture war issues for Republicans like promoting “patriotic education” and “ensuring that sports competitions are between those who share their God-given gender.”

“The Freedom Agenda presents a bold agenda focused on the future and offers a clear and compelling choice to the American people,” Pence said in a statement. “Conservatives across the country can unite around this plan to keep America from further decline and decay brought on by President Biden and progressive policies.”

Pence’s policy platform is divided into three sections: American opportunity, American leadership and American culture.

The first section is largely economic beliefs like boosting U.S. energy production, eliminating special interest tax breaks and pursuing fairer trade agreements.

The leadership pillar is focused on foreign policy, with Pence calling for investments in the U.S. military, developing cyber capabilities and revoking China’s permanent normal trade relations, something the Biden administration and Congress are doing with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Pence’s culture platform calls for ending taxpayer funding for abortion, ensuring freedom of religion, finishing the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, requiring high school students to be tested on their knowledge of key U.S. documents and preventing transgender athletes from participating in sports with the gender group with which they identify.

The lengthy policy agenda comes as Republicans debate how best to approach the midterm elections. Some lawmakers have argued the party needs a platform to show voters what they support and that criticizing the Biden administration is not enough.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the head of the Senate Republican campaign arm, released an 11-point agenda that has since become the target of Democratic attacks.

White House officials and Senate Democrats have especially seized on Scott’s call in the plan for all Americans to pay income taxes “even if a small amount,” with Democratic officials highlighting it as a proposed tax increase.

For Pence, the platform released Thursday doubles as a declaration of his agenda as he mulls whether to run for president in 2024. He is widely seen as positioning himself for such a campaign amid a flurry of visits to early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Pence has attempted to distance himself from former President Trump on controversial issues like the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, saying last month that Trump was wrong to suggest he could overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Pence has previously argued conservatives need a forward-looking agenda to rally around, another subtle break with Trump, who has largely focused his attention on grievances over the 2020 election since leaving office.

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