Republican dinner

Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, was the featured speaker at the Steuben County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner on Sept. 10. The dinner was held at the Steuben County Event Center at Crooked Lake.

Optimism was at the forefront of U.S. Rep. Jim Banks’ message to his party faithful at the annual Steuben County Lincoln Day Dinner on Sept. 10.

The optimism ranged from the federal level where Banks, R-3rd, serves to the local offices that will be up for election next year.

“I am optimistic about winning back the House majority but there is a lot that is going to happen in the next year and half as the Democrats are in charge,” he told fellow Republicans, including Indiana’s Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Richard Lineberry; State Sen. Sue Glick, R-13th, State Rep. Denny Zent, R-51st; Steuben County Commissioner President Wil Howard and Steuben County Prosecutor Jeremy Musser.

Banks, a Columbia City native discussed the following topics:

• Afghanistan withdraw: “Obviously, as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I’m sick to my stomach about what’s happening in Afghanistan, what happened a few weeks ago in Afghanistan, the negligence by this administration that caused a disastrous and deadly situation and it didn’t have to be that way,” Banks said.

Last month, President Joe Biden began evacuating American troops, citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan. As of Sept. 4, more than 117,000 had been evacuated, reportedly completing the final phase of ending the 20-year war.

Still, Americans seeking a way out remained in Afghanistan as of Sept. 11 and the Taliban continued its take over the country, including the Kabul airport.

• U.S.-Mexico border: “I’m angry about what’s happening at the border, the reversal of the effective (former President Donald Trump) policies and now we have over a million migrants who have crossed illegally since Biden became president in January,” Banks said.

Migrants caught crossing the United States-Mexico border are reported to be the highest in more than 20 years and Republicans across the country blame the Biden administration for doing away with former Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy.

• Kids are learning to hate America: “I’m angry, like a lot of Republicans are, about anti-Americanism and critical race theory being taught in schools and being pushed on our military.

In July 2020, Trump delivered a speech at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota in which he was quoted as saying schools teach students to “hate our country” through “far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.”

• Vote No: “In the meantime the Democrats are attempting to pass a $3.5 trillion (budget) bill that would push our country toward socialism in a large way and we are fighting back against that as well. It would be devastating to our country,” Banks said.

Biden wants to invest in what he is calling a “human infrastructure.” Although the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint was passed by the Senate in a party line vote, a repayment debate is still to come.

As a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Banks said, “All the committees are marking up the bill and the education committee was doing that yesterday and today. I am obviously voting against it. It’s dangerous. It would add $17 trillion to our national debt over the next 10 years.”

The Republican Party has shifted in recent years under Trump to become a party of the working class, Banks said.

“More working class voters identify themselves as Republicans today than what they did before Donald Trump became president and it’s because of the American first agenda Trump fought for,” Banks said.

Vetoed: Making a move never before made in congressional history, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., removed Banks and Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan from the Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Insurrection. Earlier this year, both had challenged Biden’s electoral wins.

“Pelosi kicked us off the committee because we wanted to ask the tough questions that she didn’t want to answer. She is afraid of those questions,” Banks said. “(Pelosi) vetoed me from the committee so I created a website called vetopelosi.com to help raise support to win back the House majority.”

Banks called on those at the dinner to help Republicans around the country to win the House majority, something they have not had since the 2018 midterms.

“We’re a Republican district and Republicans like the ones here tonight want to know what can we do to help win back the majority when we already have a Republican seat. We can pool our resources together and help Republicans win tougher seats around the country,” Banks added.

• Optimistic: Banks said he created a second website — workingclassgop.com — in which he published his memo outlining how Republicans can take back the majority in Congress.

“I’m hopeful because everywhere I go, whether in Indiana or around the country, there’s a movement building to take back our country and it culminates in midterm election next November in 2022 when we have the chance to win back the House majority, retire Speaker Pelosi and put Republicans in charge of the House — have an opportunity to push back on the Democrat agenda,” Banks said. “I believe if Republicans keep it that way that we’ll win back the White House in 2024.”

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