Biden, Dems prevail as Senate OKs $1.9T virus relief bill, comments from both US Senators from SD

WASHINGTON (AP) — An exhausted Senate has narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The vote gives President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies a victory that they say is crucial for hoisting the country out of the pandemic and economic doldrums. Final passage came after the Senate voted all night on a series of amendment. Nearly all were from Republicans and were rejected. Senate passage sets up final congressional approval by the House next week. Not a single Republican backed the bill in the Senate or when it initially passed the House. That shows the partisan environment that’s so far characterizing the early days of Biden’s presidency.

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today released the following statement after voting against the partisan $1.9 trillion spending package:

“Despite President Biden’s promises for unity and bipartisan cooperation, the first major bill considered in his presidency is a partisan and wasteful spending bill disguised as ‘COVID relief.’ One trillion dollars from previous bipartisan COVID bills remains unspent, and much of the spending in this bill won’t be spent until long after we expect to be emerging from the pandemic. Less than 10 percent of the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion spending package goes directly to public health funding to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and just one percent is dedicated to getting vaccines to the American people.

“This is the first COVID bill to be done in an entirely partisan way, because it isn’t designed to end the pandemic – it is a blatant attempt from Democrats to jam through a partisan wish list.”

Senator Mike Rounds tweeted after the vote

“Democrats used the guise of COVID-19 relief to further their left-wing agenda while putting our nation deeper into debt. I voted against this partisan $1.9 trillion spending bill that reads more like a liberal wish list than targeted pandemic relief.

Up until this point, we have always found a way to work together on a bipartisan basis to provide COVID-19 relief for the American people. None of the previous five pandemic relief bills received fewer than 90 votes in the United States Senate.

This is the first bill that did not pass either chamber with bipartisan support. In fact, it had bipartisan opposition in the House of Representatives.

My colleagues and I offered a reasonable conservative alternative that targeted relief to those directly impacted by the pandemic and was one-third the price. Unfortunately, Democrats were unwilling to compromise.

The legislation passed today is not targeted and is not specific, but rather includes many giveaways to left-wing causes.”