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Indiana takes center stage amid tax reform talks

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Hoosier State is in the spotlight again for national policy.

As Congress shifts priority to tax reform, Indiana in the coming days will have a big role.

“Our former Governor Mike Pence serving as a bridge between the White House and Congress means that one of the ways that he can do that, and perhaps more effectively, is coming home,” said Elizabeth Bennion, a professor of political science at IUSB.

Experts like Bennion say, Senator Joe Donnelly will be the one to watch on this issue.

That’s because midterm elections are approaching and his seat could become one of the more competitive races.

Of the 34 senate seats up for grabs, 25 are currently held by Democrats.

While Republicans wouldn’t necessarily need his vote on this bill, as they already have the needed 51 majority to pass it, he might need them come re-election.

“What that seems to mean is breaking with his party on key issues that he believes can be framed as benefiting ordinary people in Indiana as well as the nation,” said Bennion.

Experts believe that key issue now is tax reform.

Senator Donnelly and two other Democrats met with President Donald Trump last week to talk a tax overhaul over dinner.

Friday, the Hoosier senator will accompany Vice President Pence in Anderson and then the following week, President Trump will be in Indianapolis.

“Indiana makes sense from that perspective as well, to really apply pressure to Senator Donnelly in a state where Donald Trump carried the state by 19 percentage points,” said Bennion.

Ahead of these high profile visits, Donnelly released a statement to ABC 57 News saying in part:

“As we discuss tax reform, I believe that any reform effort should include policies that will create new jobs, protect existing jobs, and benefit middle class and working families.”

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