WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a video news conference Wednesday, Sen. Mike Braun took questions from reporters on several topics, including infrastructure, the voting rights bill and the federal pandemic unemployment benefits.
“It does not take the federal government searching to find some way to change things where it was not intended to be that way constitutionally,” Sen. Braun said of federal legislation on elections.
Sen. Braun said he believes other states should model Indiana’s election law – without a federal law like the failed For the People Act.
“This, number one, federalizes election law,” he said. “It gets rid of photo voter ID.”
His other concerns about the bill include “ballot harvesting, federal financing to some extent of elections,” he added.
But Braun said he does see room for compromise for another item on President Biden’s agenda – infrastructure.
Before Biden’s endorsement of the Senate’s bipartisan bill, Sen. Todd Young voiced his support for the deal. But Braun hasn’t taken a position on it.
“If you look at it, if it has real pay-fors in there, not stuff that generally involves we’ll pay for it years six through ten,” Braun said. “And if it starts engaging in the way we did back home with our community crossings grants … I’ve proposed that as a way to let enterprising financially-sound states like Indiana have a greater share of federal dollars.
“If it starts incorporating some of that into it, I’m possibly going to be for it. If it gets above that price tag of what we’re talking about currently, around a trillion, and it doesn’t have clear pay-fors, I’ll have to wear my fiscal hawk hat, and I’ll vote against it on that principle.”
As for federal spending on unemployment benefits, Braun said he believes the U.S. government has been competing with businesses in recent months.
“When you have something out there like that crafted by the federal government, it doesn’t make sense to extend it beyond any point in time when the indictors are you don’t need it,” Braun said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb chose to end the federal pandemic unemployment benefits in Indiana June 19, but a Marion County judge ruled Friday the benefits must continue, at least until a final ruling has been issued regarding a lawsuit to extend the state’s participation in the program.