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Republican Todd Young talks about inflation, abortion, other key issues in Senate race

A still image from an interview with Republican U S Senator Todd Young. Young is a White man with dark hair, wearing a dark suit and light blue shirt without a tie.
Alan Mbathi
IPB News
During an interview on Oct. 11, 2022, U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) said economic challenges – high prices at the gas pump and the grocery store – are the most important issue facing voters in the 2022 election.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) says economic challenges – high prices at the gas pump and the grocery store – are the most important issue facing voters this fall. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith sat down with the incumbent to discuss inflation and other key issues in Indiana’s U.S. Senate race.

You can also find interviews with the Democratic and Libertarian Senate candidates.

IPB News Statehouse Bureau Chief Brandon Smith: In terms of the cause of inflation, how much should rightly be put on a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic?

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.): I think you do need to concede that there had been some kinks in the supply chain. But businesses and households have a remarkable way of normalizing themselves. All of that was happening throughout our economy and we were seeing a normalization of markets. But when President [Joe] Biden came into office, he not only flooded the zone with trillions of dollars, he also restricted the supply of different things. He’s either increased regulation on or threatened to increase regulation on domestic sources of oil and gas.

Smith: Is there something that the government can do in the short term to address inflation or is this going to have to work itself out in the economy over the long term?

Young: Let’s stop spending trillions that we don’t have on things that we don’t need. The second thing we should do is deregulate. Deregulate oil and gas markets, deregulate housing at the local and even at the state level. I guess the last thing that comes to mind: there are some inputs in our economy that, from time to time, cannot be sourced domestically. In those cases, we need to reduce the tariffs on those items.

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Smith: Thinking about what, under President Biden’s leadership, has come out of Congress – we’re seeing states across the country, including here in Indiana, Republican leaders at the state level trumpeting the things they’re doing with the money they’re getting from those programs. So how can you, on the one hand, say, ‘We shouldn’t have done all of those bills but hey, look at all the good things we’re doing with them?’

Young: One of the challenges we have with this administration is it seems that about the only policy play they know is to appropriate more money, a lot more money for things, without first exploring how we can reduce the cost of those things by deregulating, by increasing competition between market providers.

Smith: If Republicans take back Congress, it seems possible – even likely – that you would have to face a vote as a U.S. senator on whether or not to ban abortion at the federal level. Is that the proper role of the federal government and, in the case of [U.S. Sen.] Lindsay Graham’s bill, would you vote for that piece of legislation?

Young: We need to allow the states to do their work, as the state of Indiana and other states have done. We need to allow the people of the respective states to continue to work their will to perfect their state’s laws. And so, that is my position. That will remain my position. In terms of Senator Graham’s legislation, what I will advocate for is that it should not be coming to the floor.

Smith: Would you really vote against an abortion ban because you think that’s not the proper role of the federal government?

Young: Brandon, you know and everyone who’s paid attention to my record knows that I am pro-life. But I am not going to speculate about particular bills I haven’t read.

Smith: So, let’s talk about immigration. You and others have cited statistics like, the highest number of border seizures of things like fentanyl in our history in recent months. Isn’t that proof that border security is working?

Young: No, it’s proof there’s a lot of fentanyl coming across the border.

Smith: But if it’s being seized, then isn’t the system working the way it’s designed?

Young: It’s a small portion of the overall ocean of fentanyl and other poisons that are coming across the border. Fences or walls actually can work when part of a layered defense on our southern border, freeing up border patrol agents to spend time on more heavily trafficked areas. So, that’s what I support, are some key investments in our border patrol agents, in barriers – where necessary – in a cost-effective way, in technology.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.