Kaine v Pence: Inspecting the 2016 vice president picks, their records

Democratic U.S. vice presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) waves with his presidential running-mate Hillary Clinton (L). Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) greets vice presidential nominee Mike Pence (R). © Reuters
Now that presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have announced their running mates, RT takes a closer look at Tim Kaine and Mike Pence’s records, and how they may affect policy should they find themselves working at the White House.


Clinton’s decision to choose the centrist Virginia senator Tim Kaine over a progressive or minority candidate was seen as a surprise in light of her tough primary fight with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Although Clinton described her pick as a progressive, a number of his positions are at odds with those of Sanders’ left-leaning supporters.


Indiana Governor Mike Pence is a conservative Republican who once described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.” He presents a calming influence to counterbalance Trump’s brash personality. His experience and evangelical ties make him a strong running mate for Trump’s ticket.

Pence has six terms in Congress and four years as governor under his belt, allowing for a full examination of his stance on the issues.

So where do the vice presidential picks stand on the important issues facing Americans and the rest of the world?



Kaine has said that he is against abortion on a personal level, but has a pro-choice voting record.

Following his VP announcement, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARL) released a statement supporting Kaine as Clinton’s running mate.

“In this country, we know that the vast majority of voters – 7 in 10 – believe abortion should be legal. Some of those voters are like Senator Tim Kaine – personally opposed to abortion but also strongly believe that this is a personal issue and not one for politicians to meddle in. This is core part of what it means to be pro-choice – supporting everyone’s individual decision making,” the statement read“When he was Governor, Tim Kaine took positions we disagreed with and actively campaigned against. We’re pleased that since then, his votes and public statements have been consistently in favor of trusting women to make our own decisions.”

NARL pointed to Kaine’s efforts to fight against defunding Planned Parenthood and his co-sponsoring of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which assures women can access abortion no matter where they live, as proof that he can be trusted on this issue.


Pence is staunchly pro-life and has worked to diminish women’s access to abortion. As a congressman, he voted for the Federal Abortion Ban to criminalize abortion services. He attempted to make abortion illegal in most cases and tried to ban some contraception and IVF. He voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which sought to give special rights to embryos and fetuses.

Following his Republican National Convention speech, NARL said the following: “Whether it’s leading the state that put a woman behind bars for her abortion, supporting legislation that would let a woman die rather than having an abortion that could save her life, or launching multiple efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, Mike Pence has proven himself an enemy of women and families.” NARL warned that a Trump Pence victory would impact the Supreme Court and endanger Roe v Wade.



Kaine wrote two letters to federal banking regulators last week, urging them to go easy on banking regulations. One letter argued that smaller banks should be exempt from new consumer protection rules, leaving them less regulated than before the financial crash. In the other, which was about big banks and risk management requirements, Kaine claimed that large banks outside of the big six (JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs etc) were being discriminated against due to their size.

A spokesperson responding to the outrage over the letters said: “Sen. Kaine is a strong supporter of Dodd Frank’s financial protections because certain financial institutions wreaked havoc on the American economy, hurting millions of Americans in the process and believes we need strong rules‎ to stop that chaos from happening again.”


Pence opposed the 2008 bailout of big banks following the global financial crash and voted against the 2009 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

He has criticized Dodd-Frank, accusing it of allowing the government to “pick winners and losers in the marketplace, that keeps alive this deeply flawed concept that some institutions are too big to fail.”



Kaine’s environmental record contains votes in favor of curbing carbon pollution and responding to the threat of climate change. He voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, but also voted against an amendment to that act that would close a loophole exempting fracking water from being regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Kaine has a pro-fracking stance and has supported offshore drilling in the Atlantic.


Pence is not a friend to environmentalists. He has denied climate change and voted to eliminate funding for climate education programs, to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and against numerous green energy incentives.

He also supports fossil fuel development and offshore drilling.

Foreign policy


Clinton is considered a hawkish politician who has pushed for intervention in Libya and Syria, and voted for the war in Iraq. She and Kaine don’t see eye to eye on all aspects of US military action overseas, however.

Kaine sits on the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, which lends him insight into foreign policy and legislation.

Kaine has questioned President Barack Obama’s authority to order US military action against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), calling for the executive branch to get permission from Congress before taking further military action in the Middle East.

This is a point of contention within US politics. Some, including Clinton, argue that Obama has the power and the permission to go after IS without additional congressional authorization due to the powers granted in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the wake of 9/11. Others say this law has already been stretched way past its original intention and that carrying out attacks on sovereign states without Congressional backing is, in fact, illegal. The AUMF was passed in 2001 to allow the US to take action against groups that had aided in carrying out the 9/11 attacks. IS didn’t claim its caliphate until 13 years later.

Speaking after Obama sought permission to have limited ground troops in the fight against IS in 2015, Kaine said he was “concerned about the breadth and vagueness of the US ground troop language and will seek to clarify it.”


Pence voted for the Iraq war and even co-sponsored the resolution, which is a little awkward considering Trump has blasted Clinton for doing the same.

In 2008, Pence co-sponsored the Syria Accountability and Liberation Act to increase sanctions on Syria and introduced a “diplomatic measure intended to isolate the government of Syria” and “provide assistance to support a democratic transition in Syria.”

In 2011, he voted to ban sending US armed forces from Libya without congressional approval.

Gun control


Kaine is a gun owner but supports “common sense legislation” with regards to gun control, which includes background checks and restrictions on assault weapons.

He was governor of Virginia in 2007 when the mass shooting at Virginia Tech took place that killed 32 people. He has since described the day as the worst of his life.

Kaine has supported the Manchin-Toomey bill that would expand background checks to gun shows and internet sales. He also supports a ban on gun sales to those on the terror watch list.


Pence is not a fan of gun control and has fought against measures to restrict gun sales.

In 2005, he supported the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits from victims of gun violence. In 2010, he co-sponsored a resolution to commend the National Rifle Association for their school program, which teaches children gun safety.



Kaine supports Obama’s executive actions that would allow certain undocumented workers to remain in the US if they own up and pay a fine.


Pence supports Trump’s plan to suspend immigration from countries where terrorists represent a threat to the United States. In 2009, he voted yes to building a fence along the Mexico border, aligning him with Trump on two key issues.

He refused to allow Syrian refugees to come to Indiana and voted for hospitals to report undocumented patients before they receive reimbursement for treatment. He also voted to end birthright citizenship in 2009.



Kaine fought against a 2006 proposal to ban same sex marriage in Virginia, and said he supported gay marriage in 2013, just after Clinton voiced her support. Like Clinton, Kaine slowly evolved on the issue of same sex marriage.


Pence attracted notoriety when he attempted to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to allow businesses to refuse to serve people based on religious beliefs, and use this as a defense if they were sued. It was seen as an avenue to discriminate against same-sex couples. Following outraged backlash, the act was amended to clarify that it could not be used to discriminate.

He once fought against the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on the grounds that gay people should not serve in the military at all. “Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion,” his 2000 platform read. He also called for Congress to fund gay conversion therapy rather than HIV treatment programs.