The holiday season is here! As we celebrate this special time and reconnect with loved ones, we should also think about what we’ve achieved this year and the work that lies ahead.
2021 has been a year of tremendous challenges, but we’ve also made impressive progress. As always, I’ve been working hard in Congress to be your advocate, and to do right by my fellow Hoosiers as we continue to face unprecedented obstacles.
I’m proud of the pieces of legislation we’ve enacted that have helped us address urgent priorities and build back better for the future. In March, we passed the American Rescue Plan. This $1.9 trillion relief bill is providing immense support to our communities to help us recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our state received billions of dollars that have been used to get Hoosiers vaccinated, keep Hoosiers from being evicted, improve our schools, provide tax credits to hard working parents and a lot more.
More recently, we passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This legislation, which was enacted last month, will fund upgrades to roads, bridges, broadband internet and other transportation and communication networks. It’s estimated that our state will receive nearly $9 billion of these funds for much-needed investments. This infusion of federal funds will not only help Indiana keep its title as “The Crossroads of America” for years to come; it will also help create good-paying jobs that will grow and strengthen the middle class. For four years, President Trump failed to deliver a much-hyped infrastructure bill. President Biden and Democrats in Congress got it done in less than a year.
Now, we’re working just as hard to enact the Build Back Better Act, which the House passed last month. This legislation will make vital investments in the American people, like establishing paid medical and family leave at the federal level, ensuring free universal pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds, and lowering prescription drug costs — to name just a few of the landmark provisions. I’m going to keep working hard to get this bill over the finish line, because it’s clear it will benefit Hoosier families and help make America’s opportunities available to all.
This year, under new leadership in Washington, Black people’s voices and concerns are being lifted higher. Are we where we need to be? Absolutely not. But this administration and this Congress are making real strides in increasing representation and making vital investments in our communities. For example, President Biden has dramatically increased funding to HBCUs and has directed agencies to use federal purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses, including Black-owned businesses, by 50%. In addition, his child tax credits have dramatically reduced the number of Black children living in poverty, and he has outlawed violent police tactics at the federal level that have resulted in the unjust deaths of Black people. He also appointed the first two Black U.S. attorneys for Indiana under my recommendation. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress continue working tirelessly and against Republican obstruction to pass landmark legislation on voting rights and criminal justice reform.
I will continue to be a liaison between the Biden administration and the Black Hoosiers I am honored to represent, and I’ll let the White House know if our needs aren’t being met. But what I can say with certainly is this: Unlike the previous president, who paid lip service to Black people while doing the bidding of white nationalists, our current president is earnestly putting in the work to help empower and uplift our community.
We’ve made progress this year on a number of fronts, but the people who really deserve the credit are all of you. In these tough times, I have been truly inspired by the kindness, generosity and perseverance of my fellow Hoosiers. Because of you, I know we will emerge stronger and more prosperous in the year ahead.
Rep. Carson represents the 7th District of Indiana. He is a Member of the Congressional Black Caucus and one of three Muslims in Congress. Rep. Carson sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, where he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation. Contact Rep. Carson at carson.house.gov/contact.