March 01, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence never served in the Senate, but he's serving it now! With Senator John McCain's (R-Ariz.) health in question and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) out of town, America's second-in-command is becoming a permanent fixture in the chamber he oversees. On Wednesday, fresh off his trip to Nashville, the vice president made the mile and a half trek down Constitution Avenue to cast another tie-breaking vote -- this time on the Office of Management and Budget's new deputy, Russell Vought.
Over the past 14 months, the Trump administration has nominated a lot of Christians. But not many got the attention that Vought did. That was thanks, almost entirely, to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who took the opportunity in Vought's hearing to drop the mask on the Left's open disgust for believers. After a faith-based grilling that left Sanders enraged and Americans in shock, Russell's nomination became the rallying cry for religious tolerance. From the pages of newspapers to the floor of Congress, people like Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) fired back at the far-Left's idea that Christians are unqualified for public service.
"There was some dispute in a... hearing about Russell Vought and his faith... about is he too much of a Christian to be able to serve. I just want to make a public statement that that's appalling to me... Article XI of the Constitution says there no religious test for any officer of the United States and that shouldn't even have been a discussion in that committee hearing."
Unfortunately, some extremists have no problem hauling someone's personal views into the limelight and judging them on those beliefs -- whether they impact a person's public policies or not. Yesterday's vote was a powerful rejection of that logic. And while The Hill and others called Vought "controversial," his experience and qualifications suggest otherwise. Senate Democrats created that illusion to cover up their own anti-faith prejudice.
We applaud Republicans for sending radicals like Sanders a message that his anti-faith hostility has no place in the U.S. Senate. Thanks, too, to Vice President Pence, who is nowhere near the tie-breaking record of 31 that John Calhoun set in 1825, but I suppose anything's possible if Democrats keep stonewalling solid nominees. As for Vought, he's arriving at OMB just in time for the next omnibus spending debates. And given his history of belt-tightening, we can all be grateful for that!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.