Vice-president elect Mike Pence is preparing to become the top liaison between President-elect Trump and Congress, a role that many lawmakers see as critical, and one that will require Pence to do everything from negotiating his directives in the House and Senate to interpreting Trump’s tweets.

“I think Pence is going to have a very big role,” Senate Republican Conference Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., told the Washington Examiner after meeting privately with him on Wednesday.

With a little more than two weeks to go until he’s sworn in as vice president, Pence is already serving as chief Trump translator. During a closed-door meeting with House GOP lawmakers on Wednesday, Pence explained to lawmakers a series of cryptic healthcare policy tweets Trump posted to Twitter, softening the president-elect’s seemingly out-of-the-blue warning that the GOP repeal the healthcare law in a “careful” manner that does not leave people stranded.

“Look, we’re talking about peoples’ lives, we’re talking about families,” Pence said in reference to the Trump tweet. “But we are also talking about a policy that has been a failure virtually since its inception and we intend to, over the course of the coming days and weeks, to be speaking directly to the American people about that failure.”

Republican lawmakers said they welcomed Pence’s involvement, which will be a stark departure from the Obama administration’s estrangement from Capitol Hill.

“He said the he is going to spend a lot of time here, which is good,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told the Examiner, after meeting with Pence.

Pence told lawmakers to expect to see him regularly in the Capitol. Not only will Pence occupy the decorative Vice-President’s Room near the Senate chamber, he’ll open an office in the House too.

Pence will also attend the upcoming Republican Senate and House retreat.

By staying close to GOP lawmakers, Pence will arguably serve perhaps the most critical role in the Trump administration. While Vice President Joe Biden was at times called in to work with congressional Democrats on behalf of President Obama, Trump’s populist and independent streak could cause a far bigger strain within the GOP than Obama ever suffered with his own party’s lawmakers.

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Trump is calling for a massive infrastructure spending plan, for example, that is likely to raise the opposition of many Republicans who are questioning how to pay for it.

Some in the GOP are seeking a faster repeal of President Obama’s healthcare law and are not fond of a years-long phase out now in the works. Pence appears to be quieting pushback among conservative Republicans, including opposition from the House Freedom Caucus, about allowing such an extension, although the length of time is not settled.

“Mike Pence is making a compelling case that … we have to be careful in how we replace it,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said after meeting with Pence Wednesday. “And making sure that those who have healthcare still have access to health care. And I think we are all committed to doing that.”

Pence comes with a long congressional resume, having served as a House lawmaker for a dozen years and as GOP conference chairman from 2009 until 2011.

His tenure as Indiana governor and his very conservative credentials have also helped him earn the trust of the GOP conference that remains wary of Trump’s own political leanings and executive experience.

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“He’s a popular guy, no doubt about that,” Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., a staunch conservative with a history of bucking the GOP leadership, told the Examiner. “He’s a great guy.”

Pence has perhaps become most valuable when it comes to translating Trump’s tweets and media comments that often leave lawmakers confused, frustrated or in some cases, running for cover.

“He’s very good at that,” Thune said.

But it’s not a one-way street. Republicans are also counting on Pence to convey their views to White House.

“I would expect him to have significant influence over what the new administration does,” Thune said.

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