Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) joined Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday and predicted that Democrat and Republican candidates who are in favor of sending tens of millions to Ukraine but fail to address domestic issues will not “pass the test” in the 2024 election based on his conversations with voters in the Hoosier State.
Banks, who is running to replace Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), with the backing of the Indiana Republican Party and former President Donald Trump, caught up with host and Breitbart News Washington Bureau Chief Matthew Boyle during the program on Saturday.
Boyle asked Banks what he thinks will be the defining issues that are connecting with voters heading into an election year, prompting the Senate hopeful to point to illegal immigration and its widespread negative effects, including fentanyl overdoses and the housing market freezing out hopeful first-time home buyers before zoning in on Ukraine.
“As I campaign across Indiana, the fentanyl issue and the effects that it’s having on local communities, small towns, and families is something that Republicans have got to talk more about – about how it’s directly related to the open border policies of the Biden administration,” he said. “Also, the housing market and the impossibility of first-time homebuyers to get into the market, interest rates above seven percent, and what that’s doing to local economies and small towns across Indiana is something that I think is going to be a big 2024 election issue that’s a direct result of Biden spending.”
“But I think one thing I’m learning, Matt, as I travel Indiana and I talk to voters… they’re sniffing out the politicians, and more than ever before, they’ve grown wise and skeptical enough to understand that if you’re voting to send tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine, and you’re not focused on what’s going on in our own country, you’re not going to pass the test in 2024 if you’re a Democrat, or especially if you’re a Republican on the ballot,” he forecasted. “The voters are looking for America First fighters that understand that we got to get America back on its feet. We gotta go back to the Trump policies that we know that work – to make America strong and great again, and get back to that – not be focused on what’s going on everywhere else, but be focused on what’s going on here at home.”
Banks represents a prime opportunity for populist Republicans to continue their now-decade-long process of reshaping the Republican conference in the Senate and chipping away at the political establishment, as Boyle pointed out. Notably, Braun is an America First fighter and Trump-aligned Republican who seeks the governorship in the Hoosier State. If Banks wins, it ensures another true conservative Republican will continue to wield influence alongside the likes of Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and others instead of an establishment Republican or a Democrat.
Banks told Boyle so many Republicans in Congress still fail to see they are amid a battle with Democrats “for the future of this country.”
“This is what I’ve discovered in my seven years of serving in the House, especially through the Trump Era, is we are in a war for this country, for the future of this country, and we still have a lot of Republicans who don’t understand that,” he noted. “They don’t get that the other side is trying to destroy this country, and they’re trying to wipe us all out in the process… As I became a conservative leader in the House, they’ve tried to take me on and wipe me out. That’s why Pelosi kicked me off the January 6 committee; they kicked me off of Twitter; they tried to get my name removed from the ballot because I voted to object on January 6.”
“As much as I oppose the Democrats, my biggest frustration in my time in Washington has been the Republicans in the Senate who roll over and go along to get along, and…they’re negotiating with the Democrats to destroy this country,” Banks added. “And that’s not the type of Republican I’ve been in the House. I’ve been a fighter, an America First fighter, and when I get to the Senate… J.D. Vance and others need backup. There’s a really good chance that we win back the Senate majority in this next election, but let’s win it back with an America First majority that understands what’s going on in the United States of America is more important than what’s going on in Ukraine or in other countries around the globe.”
The former chair of the Republican Study Committee went on to add that “We got to focus on making America great again, making it strong again, getting America back on its feet,” and to do so, Republican “fighters” are needed in the Senate. Banks identifies this as his motivation for his candidacy.
“The Rules Committee under Speaker McCarthy’s leadership is working throughout the weekend to set up these rule votes, and these appropriation packages that we can send over to the Senate to give us the leverage to negotiate…for something that brings down spending rather than continue down the path of growing spending, and I remain optimistic that that could still happen,” Banks told Boyle.
“Speaker McCarthy is working closely with conservatives to try to get that done,” he observed. “There are a few squishy moderate Republicans in the middle who are threatening to break away and go work with Democrats to continue to pass Biden-level, excessive spending bills. I hope that doesn’t happen, and I hope we can prevent them from doing that, do the right thing, pass conservative bills out of the House over to the Senate, and get the process moving again.”
Notably, Reps. Matt Lawler (R-NY) and Nick LaLota (R-NY) are on record saying they would vote with Democrats on a discharge petition to circumvent McCarthy and force a vote on a Continuing Resolution to keep government spending at its current levels into the winter.
It is key that the conference unites behind McCarthy so he can negotiate against the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Joe Biden with some leverage, in Banks’s view.
“The ultimate goal here is to cut spending and use the leverage of the House Republican majority – when Kevin McCarthy, the speaker, goes into the room with Chuck Schumer, the Senate leader, and negotiates that final deal – to make sure that he has the backing of the House Republican Conference behind him to say that ‘We’re not going to keep spending at the Biden era levels of the last Congress that was a Democrat-led, Speaker Pelosi-led House, Democrat-led Senate, Democrat president that… spiraled this national debt even further out of control, more than we’ve ever seen before,’” he said.
“He’s got to have the backing from the Republican conference when he goes into that room for the final negotiations, and that’s why when we go through this process this week, it shows the Senate that Republicans are serious,” Banks contended. “And that’s why Republicans have to get serious. I mean, there are some Republicans who haven’t been serious in the last few weeks. We have to get serious. We have to unite, and we have to show that we’re serious about cutting spending.”
Breitbart News Saturday airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern.