IN Focus: Indiana lawmakers react to vaccine mandates, infrastructure vote

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are weighing in on the Biden administration’s latest nationwide workplace vaccine mandate, with some showing approval as Indiana Republicans largely voice their opposition to the plan, which was temporarily halted by a federal appeals court on Saturday.

If enacted, the rule will affect nearly 84 million workers, requiring anyone who works at a company with more than 100 employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4th, or submit weekly negative tests to stay on the job. The mandate has received major pushback from officials in several states, including Indiana. Working with Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Labor, Attorney General Todd Rokita announced plans to file at least three lawsuits, challenging virtually every aspect of the new guidelines. He’s also planning on joining other states in legal actions against the mandate, including Louisiana and Mississippi.

On this week’s edition of IN Focus, Kristen Eskow spoke with Congressman Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-9) about the mandates and other key issues in the news. In an interview recorded Wednesday, Hollingsworth encouraged vaccination against COVID-19, but says politicians and the government should leave it up to Americans to make the best decisions for themselves. He opposes measures taken in both Washington and here at the state level.

“I have been critical of the mandates that are coming out of Indianapolis,” Rep. Hollingsworth said. “I want to make sure that Americans feel as though their healthcare choices are their own, and they can decide what’s in their best interest.”

In a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN-7) defended the rule.

“The Biden Administration’s guidelines to encourage more American workers to get vaccinated are a necessary and bold step we must take to defeat this pandemic,” said Carson. “Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees and their customers safe.”

This weekend, Indiana’s congressional delegation also reacted to the late-night House vote which sent the federal infrastructure package onto the President’s desk, after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations.

Hollingsworth voted down the infrastructure bill, along with every member of Indiana’s GOP delegation.

13 Republicans crossed party lines and voted in favor of the bill. Both Democrats serving Indiana in the House voted ‘yes’ on the legislation.

“[Democrats] are going to have to be focused on solving the problems that American families are facing right now, not just virtue signaling to their base about what they want to do,” Rep. Hollingsworth explained.

In a statement, Rep. Carson said the funds are a crucial starting point in fixing America’s roads and bridges, as Democrats continue to work on advancing a separate social spending bill which has yet to gain the support of some moderates in their party. As part of Friday’s vote, moderates promised to pass the so-called ‘human infrastructure’ bill once more information is available on its ultimate cost.

“The House’s advancement of these two pieces of legislation brings us much closer to enacting the bold reforms needed to keep America strong and prosperous well into the 21st Century,” Rep. Carson said.

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