Indiana Senator Braun: keep filibuster, lose federal COVID-19 response

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — For Indiana Senator Mike Braun (R), some things work and some things don’t.

For instance, he wants to keep the filibuster, which is the parliamentary rule in the Senate that requires 60 votes instead of a simple majority to advance most legislation.

“It’s the one institutional thing that we’ve got as an impediment to more debt and more legislation that isn’t bipartisan in nature,” Braun told WANE 15.

With the Senate split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, Democratic leaders are being pushed by some in their party to eliminate the filibuster, which critics say needlessly stops key legislation from passing.

“Every Democrat out there wanting to get rid of it is on video as recently as three or four years ago saying that that would be an abomination,” said Braun, noting that was when Republicans ran the Senate. “I don’t like that expediency to change the rules to fit your agenda.”

What else doesn’t work for Sen. Braun? The White House COVID strategy.

Earlier this week in a Senate hearing, Braun questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and the acting head of the FDA Dr. Janet Woodcock.

He noted the “top-down” approach from the federal government has not yielded results to justify itself, saying it was time for a new strategy of decentralizing COVID response, putting power back in the hands of local governments.

While the CDC has set disease guidelines, states have largely dictated how those guidelines are implemented. Most Hoosiers only bump into federal COVID regulations on public transportation. Braun was asked if a truly “top-down” approach has been tried. He quickly pointed to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates imposed on large employers and health care workers.

“We’re waiting in the lurch on what the Supreme Court’s gonna do on arguably the biggest federal overreach of any issue in the history of the country,” Braun said of the mandates. “That is where an agency says, ‘you either do this or you lose your job.'”

Braun pointed to polls that show 85 percent of Americans are against the vaccine mandates.

Braun, who has not revealed his vaccination status, was also asked about recent comments made by former President Trump, who told Dan Ball of One America Network that politicians who aren’t forthcoming about their vaccine booster status are “gutless.”

Braun said comments like that “generally tee-off half the country and you’re lucky if it pleases the other half.”

Braun said his position never swayed. He welcomed the vaccine but “it’s no one’s business” if a person is vaccinated. “You should never be forced by government to do something like that.”

He praised Dr. Woodcock for saying during her testimony that COVID-19 is something Americans will need to learn to live with and most people would likely contract the Omicron variant.

“That had to be a hard thing to say when you’ve been putting out all these federal rules. We should respect it [COVID], just not with heavy-handed government approaches, because it’s impossible, I think, to vaccinate the world,” Braun said. “At this stage of the game, businesses ought to exercise the responsibility to keep their employees and customers safe and individuals do what makes sense for themselves and their family.”

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