Senator Thune not happy with COVID-19 relief bill

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — One of the millions of Americans who has already received a second dose of the vaccine is U.S. Senator John Thune.

KELOLAND News caught up with the Senator Monday to talk about the vaccine rollout and the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill that passed in the Senate over the weekend.

The ‘American Rescue Plan’ has one more stop to make, back in the House before it heads to the President’s desk.

“This plan, as my distinguished colleagues from the Virgin Islands pointed out, does so many great things for America’s children and America’s families and America’s women,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said.

People could start seeing the $1,400 stimulus payments hit their bank accounts about two week after the President signs the bill, which is expected to happen soon after the House votes this week.

But Republicans, including Thune, don’t like a lot of what’s in the bill.

“We added it up and less than 10% of the money in the bill is actually directed at coronavirus relief; in other words, public health spending, vaccines or tests or PPE or helping providers. Just funding a ton of stuff that is completely unrelated to coronavirus,” Thune said.

The bill also includes money to help schools.

“Schools will be able to be open more safely with increased funding to do so with ventilation and separation and the rest, to have our children return safely and our teachers as well,” Pelosi said.

But Senator Thune says that $128 billion isn’t needed.

“It’s not, if you look at what we already appropriated for the schools, $68 billion last year, according to our information only about $5 billion has been spent so far,” Thune said.

As more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Senator Thune is pleased with the rollout and says that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“The country, we expect for the most part or those who want it, will be fully vaccinated by late spring-early summer, and that’s a good thing. That’s the best thing we can do to get things back to normal,” Thune said.

The House is expected to take up the vote on the American Rescue Plan Tuesday, although the timing of when that happens is not yet locked in.

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