Coats Earns Business Endorsement

It’s endorsement season — and the Indiana Chamber Congressional Action Committee (ICCAC, the Indiana Chamber’s non-partisan federal political action program) today endorsed Dan Coats for the U.S. Senate seat in this year’s election.

Coats says he has talked to hundreds of struggling Hoosier business owners who are fed up with higher taxes, more regulations and the ambiguity of what is yet to come.

"They are asking for checks and balances against the one-party control in Washington and this cloud of uncertainty," says Coats, who previously served in the Senate from 1990-1998. "It’s all about creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Those are the keys to our campaign."

The former senator added that every effort should be made to repeal the health care reform measure that, he notes, imposes 19 new taxes. If that proves not possible, "sensible corrections" need to be pursued.

Coats, running against current 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth, had sharp words for Congress and its decision to head back to the campaign trail without addressing the tax cuts that are scheduled to expire at year’s end.

"That was totally irresponsible." The uncertainty that is stopping company investments and job expansions is "now extended two more months. It has frozen businesses in place because they don’t know what their tax situation will be."

Chamber President Kevin Brinegar said that the volunteer business community leaders of the ICCAC want representatives in Washington who "focus on economic growth and job creation, not growing government, and Dan Coats clearly understands this."

Gerard: Democrats Hoping to Capitalize on 2008 Momentum

RJ Gerard is communications director for the Indiana Democratic Party.

Indiana went Democratic blue in 2008 for the first time in 40 years because like the rest of America, Hoosiers wanted change. The Indiana Democratic delegation has worked feverishly to bring that change to Indiana. And while the upcoming primaries should not bring any significant surprises for Democrats, the Indiana Democratic Party is poised to field a solid slate of candidates from federal to local elections this fall.

Democrats are keenly focused on holding on to all of their Congressional seats at the federal level, and feel it’s critical to maintain control of the Indiana State House of Representatives. Equally important is the Indiana U.S. Senate race, which will be in the national spotlight with former Vanderburgh County Sheriff and U.S. Congressman Brad Ellsworth working hard to replace retiring Sen. Evan Bayh.

Hoosiers saw change become reality with the passing of health care and insurance reform. Showing courage and leadership, all Hoosier Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Bayh, voted for the measure, while the entire Republican delegation voted against it.

This one issue provides insight into this upcoming election; whether to continue on the path of hope and change, or turn back to the failed policies of the past.

Repealing health care reform would be disastrous for Hoosier families; 820,000 Indiana residents would lose health care, 76,800 small businesses would lose existing tax credits and appalling insurance practices of the past – such as denying coverage due to preexisting conditions – would be reinstated.

Let us not forget that it was the Republican Party, during eight years of GOP control, that turned record surpluses into record deficits and favored the special interests and lobbyists over the interests of ordinary Hoosiers.

Even today, Hoosier Republicans are still standing with Wall Street and opposing the reforms that would protect Americans and prevent future bailouts. To the contrary, Indiana Democrats are looking out for Hoosier families and demanding accountability from Wall Street.

In response to these failed Republican policies of the past, President Obama and Hoosier Democrats have provided tax cuts to 95 percent of working Americans through the Recovery Act, tax cuts to small businesses and instituted polices that are helping to get our deficit under control, turn our economy around and create jobs.

The Indiana GOP and its candidates represent the failed ideas of the past. The time for change has come. Hoosier Democrats are working diligently to make sure it happens.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Out of respect for our guest bloggers, we will not be allowing anonymous comments on their blogs this week. Additionally, the Indiana Chamber does not necessarily share the opinions of our guest bloggers.

Busy Hoosier Congressmen Still Manage a Few Good Comments

Washington, D.C. is filled with its share of sirens, whistles and other warning noises. Inside the U.S. Capitol, however, the sound of choice is the bell that signals a vote is about to take place.

There were several post 6 p.m. bells last Wednesday on the House side during the congressional delegation roundtable portion of the Indiana Chamber’s D.C. Fly-in. Indiana’s reps did their job by going to vote, but also hustled back to answer questions and share insights for the more than 70 Indiana business attendees.

Among their comments:

  • Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-2nd District) on the possibility of additional troops in Afghanistan: "Will 10,000 accomplish anything? Do you need 50,000? Do you need 100,000?" Those questions and others, he said, are still unanswered.
  • Rep. Andre Carson (D-7th District) deserves credit for not going the political route and offering a clearly unpopular view when he professed his strong support for the Employee Free Choice Act as well as cap and trade.
  • On cap and trade, Rep. Dan Burton (R-5th District): "I think it will cost a lot of jobs; it will drive a lot of business and industry to go offshore."
  • On the same subject, Rep. Mike Pence (R-6th District) noted the emphasis should be on the GOP’s "all of the above strategy" that includes new technologies, renewables, conservation and 100 new nuclear plants in the next 20 years.
  • And finally on that topic, Sen. Richard Lugar explained how a bill was passed in the House. "There was a tremendous desire from President Obama and the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) to get a bill, any bill. Nearly 300 pages out of the 1,200 pages in the bill came in the early morning hours on the day of the vote. Deals needed to get done (to get more House votes). When Rep. Steve Buyer (R-4th District) questioned with the phrase that "you would never do that in the Senate," Lugar quickly responded with at least it’s "usually during the daylight."
  • Buyer, a late arrival, summed up several issues: "On card check, it’s un-American. On troop levels, we’ve been the provider of security in Europe for 60 years. It’s time for Europe to stand with America. On cap and trade, it’s the wrong debate. It should be about rebalancing our energy portfolio."

There were several comments on health care reform, with Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-8th District) getting the final word. He just returned from one of the House votes with a message that touched on health care and other unrelated frustrations.

"This place is schizophrenic," Ellsworth stated. "The adjournment votes tonight just disrupt business. There are really good, intelligent people here, but people send folks who talk one way back home and do the opposite here. We all wouldn’t last five minutes in a board room if we acted like we do here."

He goes on to tell of a ranking member on a committee considering health care legislation who told him before the August recess, ‘We don’t want to pass anything and make you guys look good.’ "Both parties do it. It’s sad. I came here to try and change it."

Finally, on health care, Ellsworth added, "You can’t do it by printing off more money. Tort reform ought to be part of it. But personal responsibility is the hardest thing to legislate — the person who goes to Golden Corral three times a week or lights up (cigarettes)."