INDIANAPOLIS - Home from Washington DC, two Indiana congressmen took time to explain their votes on the $1.3 trillion budget bill that the President reluctantly signed into law on Friday.
Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) are also running in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, with each candidate trying to draw distinctions from the other, while still appealing to the party's base in a state the President won by nearly 20 points.
Rokita voted against the bill Thursday, saying it didn't include enough of the measures President Trump had been calling for in recent months.
Messer voted for the omnibus spending bill, citing the President's desire to increase funding for the military.
And with President Trump sending mixed messages, threatening to veto the bill before eventually signing it, both representatives took time to explain their vote when we caught up with them at a candidates forum this past week.
"This is the Washington swamp at its worst," said Rokita. "Once again, leadership in Congress has failed President Trump and the American people by forcing us to vote on a $1.3 trillion bill that no one could have read, that doesn't defund sanctuary cities, that doesn't defund abortion provider Planned Parenthood, and fails to fund an effective wall."
“Today, I voted to stand with President Trump and provide the men and women who serve our country the largest pay raise in a decade and ensure they have the resources they need to keep our country safe,” said Messer. “This bill also provides a down payment on President Trump’s border wall, funds school security efforts, and makes record investments to fight the opioid epidemic. The President is right that the Senate’s broken rules give the Democrats too much leverage, which is why we must end the filibuster and allow the majority to govern.”
"Our troops absolutely deserve pay raises and there are good provisions in this bill, but tying those priorities to a $1.3 trillion spending bill littered with concessions to liberal Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi is not what Hoosiers elected us to do and is what the American people despise about Congress," said Rokita, who was one of two GOP representatives from Indiana to vote against the omnibus, along with Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN).
In the video above, Messer, Rokita and fellow candidate Mike Braun discuss the spending bill and the race for U.S. Senate, with all three Republicans looking to unseat Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in the fall.
In the video below, IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens shares his thoughts on the budget battle and the Senate candidates' attempts to embrace the President's policies.