IN delegation on universal background checks—Mayor Pete responds to shootings—Holcomb says flags at half-staff

Buttigieg: "Is being attacked by terrorists now, homegrown white nationalist terrorists, going to make us better? "

By Adam Wren and design by Kris Davidson

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb directed flags across the state to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Aug. 8. to honor the victims of the mass shooting tragedies in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

On Monday morning, President Trump called lawmakers to pass tighter gun laws. “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” he tweeted.

On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Republicans to reconvene for an emergency session “to put the House-passed universal background checks legislation on the Senate floor for debate and a vote immediately,” he wrote on Twitter.

Here’s how Indiana U.S. House members of the delegation voted on H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require background checks on every firearm sale.

The measure passed the House on Feb. 27, and “prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.”

Yea: Democratic Reps. Pete Visclosky and André Carson.

Nay: Republican Reps. Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks, James Baird, Susan Brooks, Greg Pence, Larry Bucshon, Trey Hollingsworth.


IMPORTANTVILLE TAKE: Rep. Jim Banks is the only Republican member of the delegation who clearly stated the nation suffered from a wave of white nationalist terrorism.



We cannot keep America safe from this threat to the American people if we are not prepared to name it and confront it. We need an administration that is ready to do that, and we can't keep pretending that this is just random, or that this is something we can't confront.


There is no question that white nationalism is condoned at the highest levels of our government. You know, when this kind of rhetoric happened twenty years ago when David Duke was trying to run for office as a Republican, the Republican party was horrified -- they couldn't run away fast enough. Right now, you see it being echoed by the White House, and there is a measure of responsibility that you just can't get away from when you have, you know, case after case of racial rhetoric coming out of the White House.


This administration actually cut funding for homeland security programs on countering violent extremism and has, as far as I can tell, not produced any kind of national strategy on far-right terrorism. After 9/11, we swore up and down we were going to be different. We said this was going to change us -- being attacked by terrorists was going to make us better than we were. What about this time? Is being attacked by terrorists now, homegrown white nationalist terrorists, going to make us better? Or are we going to allow those terrorists to make us worse and more divided?


But the ultimate amplifier on this kind of hate is the bully pulpit of the White House. And I think that this is not just a question of technology; this is a question of leadership. Will the president of the United States leave his golf resort, go back to Washington, address the nation, condemn in no uncertain terms white nationalism as an evil ideology that is inspiring some people to commit murder, and call for the Senate to convene tomorrow to enact at least the most basic gun safety reforms that most Americans want? Or will there be a mix of silence today and more hate tomorrow coming from the highest office in the land? I don't think we can social media engineer our way out of a problem when the highest leadership in this country is stoking it.

DRIVING THE MORNING, via Indy Star’s Chris Rickett:

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana sent out a few tweets over the weekend following Saturday's deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, saying in one of them that "white supremacy terrorism should be named, targeted and defeated."

Banks, whose 3rd Congressional District in northeast Indiana includes Fort Wayne, sent a tweet Saturday in which he said he and his family were praying for "all those affected by this terrible tragedy."

Around midday Sunday, the 40-year-old Afghanistan War veteran made a more pointed comment.

“I deployed to Afghanistan as a response to radical Islamic terrorism,” the tweet read. “We now face a different enemy that has also emerged from the shadows but demands the same focus and determination to root out and destroy. #WhiteSupremacistTerrorism should be named, targeted and defeated.”

Banks declined to elaborate on his tweet, a spokesman told IndyStar on Sunday, but it comes amid criticism from Democratic presidential candidates and others that President Donald Trump's rhetoric has fomented racism and support among white nationalists.

Good Monday morning, and welcome to IMPORTANTVILLE.

WHERE’S VEEP? He has lunch with the president today.


Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Rep. André Carson have an event on Wednesday celebrating a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Labor. Funding will provide wraparound services, transitional employment and industry-recognized credential training to mid-to high-risk individuals reentering the community. Programming will be in partnership with the city’s Office of Public Health and Safety, as well as community organizations including RecycleForce.


Todd Young, Indy Star: “Sen. Todd Young: Indiana courts at full strength for first time in years

When Damon Leichty — Indiana’s newest district court judge — was confirmed on July 11, our state had for the first time in years a full slate of federal judges.

When I was sworn into office in January 2017, there were four vacancies on the bench in Indiana. A few months later, a fifth seat came open.

This was bad news for our state. Indiana’s two district courts have been overloaded with cases. Things were especially bad in the Southern District — basically everything south of Kokomo — which had to borrow judges from Wisconsin to handle some of our cases.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

But these vacancies also presented an opportunity. Most Hoosiers believe — as I do — that our federal judges should follow the Constitution as written, and I vowed as a candidate to seek out judges who would not legislate from the bench. So finding qualified judges was among my first orders of business.

How did we do this?

We put out a call for the best legal minds in Indiana. We literally posted the job online and started screening applicants.

Maggie Severns and Daniel Strauss, POLITICO: “Rookie bundlers power Buttigieg fundraising surge

Pete Buttigieg is drawing new blood into the world of big-league presidential fundraisers.

Buttigieg’s campaign has amassed 94 people and couples who have already raised more than $25,000 for him in the race, according to a list of his top bundlers obtained by POLITICO. But roughly two-thirds of those donors were not among the major fundraisers for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton during recent election cycles, according to a POLITICO analysis — though in many cases they are well-connected people in their own right.

Buttigieg’s roster of top bundlers, known inside the campaign as his “investor’s circle,” includes well-known hedge fund manager Orin Kramer and Esprit co-founder Susie Tompkins Buell — each of whom has raised upward of $25,000 for his campaign. The rainmakers were instrumental in making Buttigieg the biggest fundraiser in the Democratic presidential field this spring, as he brought in $24.8 million in the second quarter of the year.

And because Buttigieg is largely drawing from outside the ranks of traditional Democratic bundlers, the group’s loyalty could help the South Bend, Ind., mayor raise multiples more over the course of that campaign — helping him hire field staff, cut television ads and, they hope, break into the top of the polls at just the right time.

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