U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today joined Hugh Hewitt’s radio show to discuss the importance of getting more kids back to in-person learning and what South Dakota schools have been doing right, the intensifying crisis at the southern border, and how Democrats are tying the hands of red-state governors, among other topics.
On the importance of getting kids back in the classroom and empowering parents:
“Those provisions initially – child tax credit, earned income tax credit – were kind of Republican ideas. It was a way of getting more money in the pockets of families in this country so that they could make decisions about their futures and their children’s futures…. If parents want to use this in a way that gives them options, gives them choice, and gives them the chance to get their kids in a school where they can learn at the fastest rate possible, and more importantly right now, get into a school, period.”
“We’ve got some really good options – parochial schools, we’ve got Catholic schools, Christian schools in South Dakota – and honestly more coming, and I think, you know, we’ve got great public schools in our state, too. But I just think anything you can do to give parents more options and more choices for their kids is a good thing.”
“The reason that a lot of these schools around the country are shut down is because the teacher’s unions essentially have said, we’re not sending our people back to work irrespective of whether or not they get vaccinated, and we’ve been blessed in South Dakota that most of our schools have been open for a long time. But I think that parents ought to have more options.”
On the border crisis:
“The border’s open, and this has fueled a crisis in the country, and to give credit where credit is due, the Trump administration did a really great job of getting this thing under control, but now having a lot of these asylum-seekers just coming in, unaccompanied minors coming in, reducing enforcement, quit building the fence, and there’s just so many things that they’ve done, including revoking the emergency declaration in January and now sending FEMA down there. So it wasn’t an emergency, I guess, but now it’s an emergency because we’ve got the Federal Emergency Management Agency heading down to the border to help down there. This is a big, big problem for this administration.”
On restricting how states use COVID funds:
“[T]hey stuck this provision in there, I think, specifically to stick it in the eye of red-state governors who might be inclined to actually reduce taxes on people in their states. And frankly, in South Dakota, that’s going to make a lot of sense, Hugh, because you know we’re – and a lot of states, honestly, Republican states, in particular, are well-managed and in good shape fiscally, and so they’re going to be trying to figure out how to use this money, and a lot of them will probably want to use it to reduce taxes.”
Thune is a cosponsor of the State Fiscal Flexibility Act (S. 743), which would eliminate a provision in the American Rescue Plan that prevents states from using relief funds to cut taxes.