Jim Baird column sig

As a lawmaker, it is our job to write, debate and pass laws that move our country into a better future. But voting no and stopping bad legislation that violate our Constitution and harm our country is just as important.

Thus, many of my recent votes have been in opposition to partisan bills that would have disastrous effects for Hoosiers and the country at large.

First, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan (ARP) self-proclaimed as a coronavirus relief bill did very little to assist people suffering from the pandemic. I have proudly supported the previous five bipartisan COVID-19 relief bills because unlike the ARP, those bills directly dealt with the effects of the pandemic. T

he ARP is the first COVID-19 relief bill to be written and passed on a partisan basis. When portions of the bill were being formed and debated in committees, Democrats ignored common-sense amendments and steamrolled over any objections and concerns to this bill.

One of my major concerns is the bill spends an additional $2 trillion while the government still has close to $1 trillion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds.

Thankfully we have several safe and effective vaccines that are driving COVID-19 numbers down to a point where we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

It doesn’t make sense to spend an additional $2 trillion, when we are nearing victory over the pandemic, especially when we’ve already spent $4 trillion in aid and close to $700 billion of this new aid won’t be spent until 2022 or later.

I was not against additional targeted relief, rather I am opposed to spending large sums of taxpayer dollars to bail out entities that have been financially mismanaged.

Second, the Equality Act. Despite its name, the bill would hurt many Americans of faith. The bill explicitly states Americans would no longer be able to utilize the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a legal defense.

We’ve seen examples of progressive ideologues target religious Americans with frivolous lawsuits because of their faith. The Equality Act will punish Americans for simply living according to their faith.

Third, is H.R. 1, For the People Act. This legislation is an attempt to take the constitutional authority away from state legislatures on how to conduct their elections.

Proponents of the bill say it will protect our elections, but in fact it would do the opposite. The bill eliminates state safeguards on voter integrity by forcing states to permanently expand mail-in voting, legalize ballot harvesting, and banning voter ID laws.

The House also passed gun control bills, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446. HR 8 would expand background checks whenever a firearm changes possession with a few exceptions. HR 1446 would increase the time the government can delay a firearm purchase from three days to 20 days.

Proponents of these bills are misleading the public when they say it will prevent mass shootings like the two tragic events we saw last month in Atlanta and Colorado. The uncomfortable truth is that these bills wouldn’t have prevented these tragedies and only punish law-abiding Americans for exercising their Second Amendment right.

Lastly is H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, a bill would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

Granting amnesty or offering a pathway to citizenship before securing the border is a mistake. It will only encourage more migrants to make the dangerous journey to our nation and to violate our laws in doing so.

Our southern border is already experiencing a surge of migrants that is overwhelming our border and health officials. This recent surge is because President Biden signaled our border was open, by halting construction of the border wall, easing border enforcement, and ceasing deportations.

And don’t take my word on it. The President of Mexico has publicly said President Biden gave the expectation that migrants would be welcomed.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Democrats believe that socialism is the path our country should take. The history of human civilization has been clear that countries who succumb to socialism and greater government control over the peoples’ lives lead to ruin and destruction.

I will never stop trying to find common ground with my Democratic counterparts, but if they continue to push the stripping of our American rights and expanding the power of the federal government over states, I will stand firmly opposed.

Jim Baird is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana’s 4th Congressional District.

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