DeLaney: Hoosiers want to move on with their lives, not be used as a political bargaining chip

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INDIANAPOLIS — Yesterday, President Biden announced a strategy to combat the growing surge of U.S. omicron cases. The plan includes 500 million free rapid COVID-19 tests to be available through shipment across the country starting in January and increased support for vaccination sites and hospitals facing strained capacity. State Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) released the following statement in response: 

“While President Biden presents solutions to the growing crisis, Indiana Republicans promote policies that got us to a point where the U.S. Navy has to bail us out of a public health crisis. As a Navy veteran, I am proud and thankful for these efforts, I only wish the General Assembly would join in the patriotic fight against COVID-19. Even Governor Holcomb expressed frustration over the state’s dismal vaccination rate, but stopped short of providing a path forward. As I was taught in the service, ‘There is always 10% who never get the word.’ I just wish Indiana was not in that group.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Republicans have prioritized partisan politics over Hoosier lives. Constant attacks on science and moral decency have left Hoosiers confused and exhausted. Republicans encourage those who won’t cooperate and in the process discourage the rest of us. This failure of leadership has left our state in dead last when it comes to handling the pandemic.

“Our overburdened health care providers are exhausted from trying to keep up with a raging virus that the General Assembly would rather ignore than put forth any real effort to end. How can Indiana Republicans claim we don't need a state of emergency when nearly 18,000 Hoosiers and counting have died and when hospital systems are pleading to increase vaccination rates as they run out of hospital beds. How many lives lost will be enough? How long will they let this continue in an effort to save face or gain political seats?

“The timing of the Republicans’ push to prioritize HB 1001, a bill designed to reduce vaccination rates, is tone-deaf to the reality Hoosiers are living with. Republicans argue they want the economy to return to a state of normalcy, but the bill’s intent to impose additional financial burdens on businesses who were lucky enough to survive the pandemic is not normal- it’s punishment for creating a safe work environment and a further effort to politicize a public health crisis. 

“When bad policy forces Hoosiers into unsafe working conditions, small businesses to close and corporations that have invested in calling Indiana home to relocate, we will have no one to blame except the General Assembly. 

“It’s time for Republicans to stop playing games and wake up to the reality that the only way to put an end to the pandemic is through vaccination. Hoosiers want to move on with their lives, not be used as a political bargaining chip.

“I suggest that the majority scotch the plan to rush through an attack on vaccination starting on January 4th. Instead, the Statehouse itself should be made a vaccination and test distribution site on that very day. Let’s be a model, not an obstacle.”

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