IN Focus: Carson, Pence discuss debt limit, infrastructure battle, new congressional districts


INDIANAPOLIS – As lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate several key economic issues, including infrastructure spending, two Indiana Congressman from both sides of the aisle spoke to IN Focus to explain where they stand.

This past week, Congress reached a deal to raise the debt limit after weeks of negotiations and the looming threat of a default. The legislation shifts the deadline to early December, setting up yet another showdown in Congress later this year.

Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana’s 7th district spoke with Statehouse reporter Kristen Eskow to explain his views on government spending and the priorities of the Biden administration. He says that the $3.5 trillion economic bill, expected to pass through the reconciliation process, is crucial for progressives and the priorities of the entire Democratic Party.

“[President Biden] outlined in his remarks what is at stake for our country if our Republican friends continue to block Democratic efforts to address the debt limit and avoid economic catastrophe.” Rep. Carson said.

Kristen Eskow also spoke with Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana’s 6th district on what he views as more wasteful Washington spending. Rep. Pence worries that a bulk of the federal infrastructure bill will go to big metro areas like Chicago and New York instead of his constituents in Columbus and Muncie, concerns echoed by fellow Indiana Congressman Larry Bucshon, who spoke with IN Focus last week.

Pence says the infrastructure bill making its way through Congress will “short cheat rural America.”

“[Democrats] couldn’t get a budget bill put together, so we’re kicking it down the road,” Rep. Pence said. “They’re not getting anything done because they’re fighting, so I’m gonna sit back and I’m gonna eat popcorn.”

Rep. Pence also commented on how he’s preparing for new constituents after officials Indiana passed new maps as part of the redistricting process. While continuing to focus on the issues facing the 6th district, Pence said he will eventually visit his new boundaries in Johnson Country and the southern portion of Marion County.

The new maps will take effect after the 2022 congressional elections.

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