IN Focus: House passes Build Back Better bill, Hoosier lawmakers react

Regional News

INDIANAPOLIS – House Democrats are celebrating after a huge piece of President Biden’s agenda, the Build Back Better bill, passed through the lower house of Congress.

The legislative victory is drawing reactions across Indiana’s congressional delegation, with reaction and the vote itself falling along party lines.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN-3), called the bill “shameful” and said it was filled with reckless and unnecessary spending. Rep. Banks said he was concerned with a growing – and more intrusive – federal government.

“Working families will come out on the losing end as Democrats massively expand government’s control over their lives,” Rep. Banks said in a statement.

Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-IN-5) shared similar criticism, saying that the Build Back Better bill will have unintended consequences for Hoosier businesses. She believes the legislation will, among other things, exacerbate the nation’s labor shortage and inflation.

“If I would summarize the bill the House just passed, it would be: screw seniors, incentivize people not to work, expand government control and take over businesses, and benefit wealthy people,” Rep. Spartz said.

Across the aisle, Congressman André Carson (D-IN-7) had a much different view of the bill. As a member of the House Progressive Caucus, Rep. Carson touted the opportunities he saw in the bill. Calling it a “one-in-a-lifetime investment in Hoosiers,” Carson is looking forward to the assistance and policy changes it could bring.

“This bill addresses many of the urgent needs of Americans, and helps make our country better prepared to lead the world well into the 21st century,” Rep. Carson said.

Within the bill is what Democrats are calling “critical funding” for violence prevention and assistance throughout the country. The federal government will gather data on the “strategies that are most effective at reducing community violence and ensuring public safety.”

It comes as Indiana, namely its capital Indianapolis, and other states in the U.S. see a dramatic rise in violence crimes, including homicides. Indianapolis alone is on track to have a record-setting year, with 244 homicides so far in 2021. That’s one shy of tying last year’s unprecedented record.

Check out the latest homicide numbers from across the state, plus Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s strategy to combat violence crime, in the video below.

The Build Back Better bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where every Democratic vote is needed to pass. The bill is already facing some hesitancy from more moderate Democrats. Still, congressional leaders are reportedly confident the spending bill will make it to President Biden’s desk.

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