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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Democrats are celebrating the first anniversary of President Biden’s pandemic relief bill.

The bill steered $5.7 billion to Indiana and its cities and counties. In Indianapolis, Mayor Joe Hogsett says the bill paid for a $150 million crimefighting package, including $30 million for mental health. It’s also funded broadband, parks, storm sewers, affordable housing, small business assistance, and last year’s ramp-up of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Democratic Congressman Andre Carson says the spending has addressed both short-term needs like help for businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic, and long-term needs he charges were neglected under President Trump.

Carson acknowledges the bill’s been followed by steadily rising inflation. Inflation now stands at 7.9%, the highest rate since 1982. Carson says some of the price rise is normal ups and downs, and some of it is the spike in energy prices. Inflation is 6.4% even if food and energy are excluded, but energy prices have risen four times that fast, while food prices are up 7.9%. Carson says the price rise and Russia’s assault on Ukraine are both reminders of the importance of breaking American dependence on foreign oil. He says automakers’ rapid move toward electric vehicles will help bring prices under control.

Carson argues the benefits of the American Rescue Plan spending will outweigh the current pain at the cash register. He accuses congressional Republicans, all of whom voted against the package, of prioritizing party leadership talking points with an eye on the November midterm elections. He and Hogsett both draw a contrast with Indy’s City-County Council, which approved Hogsett’s crime package unanimously.