Sen. Sanders visits West Lafayette to rally support for $3.5 trillion budget plan

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) visited West Lafayette Friday night to promote the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.

Sanders and Democrats are trying to pass the bill through the reconciliation process, so it wouldn’t need any Republican support.

During a one-on-one interview, Sen. Sanders said the budget reconciliation bill would impact the lives of Hoosiers “in a very, very significant way” while only raising taxes on wealthy Americans.

“It will create millions of good-paying jobs in Vermont and Indiana and all over this country as we address many of the long-neglected needs,” Sanders said.

Some of those needs addressed in the bill include universal pre-K, free community college, and expanded Medicare coverage. The bill is paid for with tax increases on large corporations and families making more than $400,000 per year, Sanders said.

“Nobody [making] under $400,000 will pay a nickel more in federal taxes,” Sen. Sanders said.

Roughly 2,300 people in West Lafayette heard this plan, and many of Sanders’ supporters say they’re excited about it.

“It’s really ambitious,” said Annabel Prokopy, a West Lafayette resident who attended the rally. “And I think that’s really important because we can’t keep taking small steps.”

“It would put pressure on these pharmaceutical companies to bring down their prices,” said Larry Alexander of South Bend.

But the bill has no support among Republicans in Congress, meaning most of Indiana’s congressional delegation isn’t on board.

“The debt that we’re putting on our kids and grandkids, it’s shameful,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana).

Braun, who spoke at an event held in opposition to Sanders’ visit, brought up concerns about the process of passing this bill.

“All of those issues … we as Republicans need to be engaged in them, and I’m probably the most engaged,” Braun said. “But doing it through small-government conservatism.”

“What we see is the working-class Republicans all over the country support the bill,” Sanders said. “And I think that it might be a good idea for Republican Senators and members of the House to start talking to their constituents.”

During his Midwest trip, Sen. Sanders also heads to Iowa Sunday to continue promoting the budget bill.

If the reconciliation process is used, it’s going to require every Democrat in the Senate and almost every Democrat in the House to support it.

This week the House passed a blueprint of the package, but some moderates in the Senate say they want to see the total cost of the package come down.

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