IN Focus: Local leaders, party chairs discuss passage of federal infrastructure bill

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Business and political leaders across Indiana are reacting to the passage of the Biden administration’s federal infrastructure bill. Many opinions are falling unsurprisingly along party-lines.

Congressman Andre Carson (D-IN-7), a supporter of the Biden agenda and member of the House Progressive Caucus, described the plan as an essential first step in “enacting the bold reforms to keep America strong and prosperous well into the 21st Century…”

Republican critics on the other hand, including Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN-4). In a statement, Rep. Baird said the bill “is little more than a Trojan horse for [Democrats] partisan wish list of wasteful spending.”

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill is being met with optimism from Indiana business leaders. The bill reportedly provides $110 billion for repairing the country’s highways, roads and bridges. It also includes $39 billion in funding for public transportation and $65 billion to improve rural broadband internet. 

Those figures have Brian Gould, Executive Director for the Build Indiana Council, eager to start building. He’s one of many business leaders who spoke with Statehouse Reporter Kristen Eskow.

“Unquestionably, this will definitely result in new jobs, increased traffic safety, reduced time waiting in congestion…” Gould said.

Many of the state’s political leaders are now touring the Hoosier State to draw up support for the Biden administration’s plans. Mike Schmuhl, state party chairman for the Indiana Democrats, spoke with IN Focus, saying the bill provides basic investments to the state, like broadband internet and clean water. He’s not surprised by the lack of support from congressional Republicans, saying that he expects the pushback because their party is not in power.

“I think that [Republicans] are reverting back to their ‘Party of Against Everything’ status they did a few years ago when they’re not in power,” Schmuhl explained. “This is investing in the strongest economy the world has ever seen, and its Democrats who are delivering that.”

GOP chairman Kyle Hupfer pushed back on this assertion, saying that “the American people are not in line with what’s coming out of Washington.”

Hear more reactions from this week’s edition of IN Focus in the video above, and see what Hupfer and Schmuhl said about the controversy surrounding Sen. Mike Braun‘s campaign contributions.

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