Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Thursday that controversial bills such as the Journalism Competition and Preservation (JCPA) should be considered “standalone” instead of being “crammed in” must-pass bills such as spending bills.

Braun, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke to Breitbart News as the JCPA, a controversial bill that would create a media cartel, was not included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill’s potential inclusion in a must-pass bill raises questions about how the JCPA’s advocates tried to politicize legislation aimed at authorizing defense spending. Now that the bill is not attached to the NDAA, it remains possible that JCPA advocates could try to slip the controversial and highly opposed bill to a must-pass spending bill before the end of Congress, which could be either a stop-gap continuing resolution (CR) or an omnibus spending bill.

The Hoosier conservative, in his interview with Breitbart News, decried congressional leadership’s moves to attach special interest bills such as the JCPA to the NDAA and other must-pass legislation as indicative of the broken system that is Congress.

Braun described the special interest bills attached to must-pass bills as “barnacles in the ship.”

He elaborated, “I think any of this is an indication of a broken system. Everything’s done behind closed doors by committee chairs that do very little work in committees on any of these bills. And I think that’s one of the reasons they don’t get fully vetted. They don’t get the pros and cons worked out with it. If you got enough clout, you tried to get it shoved into something it’s got to go through. I think it’s another indicator of what’s wrong with the system.”

“It is sad that we don’t do budgets and hardly do any regular order from any committee work. And then you have all these barnacles get attached to something where none of us have not really that much time to even look at it. It’s kind of a fait accompli as part of a huge bill and it’s part of a broken system,” Braun added.

Braun said that any bill, including the JCPA, should be passed on its own merits rather than get slipped into a must-pass bill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill out of committee; however, the bill has not come to a floor vote, as it does not appear the bill has enough support to pass out of Congress’s upper chamber. Instead, the bill’s proponents, which include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have either tried to “hotline” the bill in the Senate or slip it into the NDAA.

“Sixty votes are there for a reason. Got to make it bipartisan and something that is really going to get vetted. And that should be through on standalone was also another thing we haven’t talked about, we have hardly any ability to amend anything. So that allows for stuff to get through and then again, get crammed in, where you have no input, there’s no transparency, and it becomes an even more bloated bill.”

Braun praised the roughly eight Senate Republicans that have stood up to the Senate GOP status quo and praised Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the outgoing National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman, for “offering himself up as an alternative” to McConnell. He said he hopes that Senate conservatives that want to reform the conference will continue to gain steam. Braun was one of the many Senate Republicans that backedScott’s bid to oust McConnell as the Senate Minority Leader.
Braun also lamented that so many Senate Republicans frequently cut deals with Democrats to pass leftist legislation, while, in contrast, Democrats never vote for Republican legislation.

For instance, 12 Senate Republicans, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Todd Young (R-IN), voted with Democrats to pass the far-left “Respect for Marriage Act.”
Fifteen Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to pass gun control.
Nineteen Senate Republicans gave Democrats the necessary votes to pass the so-called infrastructure bill.
“I guess that tells you something about a fourth to a third of our party in terms of where they may be coming from,” Braun remarked.

Braun asked one long-serving senator to name one time that Democrats broke with leadership and helped pass a Republican bill out of the Senate — they concluded that has not happened in decades.

He said, “I asked the senator who’s been here in his third term, maybe fourth, to give me one example where it has occurred in recent times. He could not come up with anything, and then we pretty well concluded that hasn’t occurred in the last 50 years.”