U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the upcoming virtual March for Life and expressed his gratitude for those who will join in this ‘march’ to stand up for innocent lives. He thanked them for their commitment to the pro-life movement and offered encouragement to continue fighting for justice for the unborn. Thune also discussed his willingness to work with Pete Buttigieg, nominee for Secretary of the Department of Transportation, and expressed his disappointment in Senate Democrats’ alleged attempts to push their liberal agenda in an additional COVID-19 relief package.
Excerpt of Thune’s remarks:
“Mr. President, yesterday I voted to advance out of committee President Biden’s nomination of Pete Buttigieg as head of the Department of Transportation, and the full Senate will soon vote to confirm him.
“I had a good meeting with Mr. Buttigieg last week, and we talked about a number of South Dakota transportation priorities.
“Our nation is due for another major infrastructure bill, and I asked Mr. Buttigieg to commit to maintaining strong investments in rural highway funding and other rural transportation priorities as part of any infrastructure legislation.
“A strong rural transportation infrastructure benefits the entire national transportation system by connecting major highways and railways to the regions that produce so many of the agricultural and industrial products we rely on.
“It’s key to helping South Dakota farmers and ranchers – and farmers and ranchers around the country – get their products to market.
“I also asked Mr. Buttigieg to work with me to improve tribal transportation infrastructure.
“Right now, prosperous tribes in populous areas receive a disproportionate amount of tribal transportation funding – even though their needs are often less pressing than those facing large rural tribes like those in South Dakota.
“I’m committed to ensuring that rural tribes get their fair share of tribal transportation funding, and I was pleased that Mr. Buttigieg agreed to work with me on this issue.
“I also enjoyed discussing autonomous vehicle legislation with Mr. Buttigieg.
“He shares my interest in the technological, environmental, and safety benefits self-driving vehicles could offer, and I look forward to working with him on this issue.
“Highway bills have always been a place for bipartisan cooperation, and the bill released last Congress by Senators Barrasso and Carper was no exception.
“I hope that that bipartisan tradition will continue in this Congress, and that Democrats and Republicans can work together to deliver a significant infrastructure package in the near future.
“Mr. President, on the subject of bipartisanship, I’m disturbed by the rumors that Democrats plan to use reconciliation to force another COVID bill through Congress on partisan lines before even giving good faith effort to bipartisan negotiations.
“Republicans are more than willing to work with Democrats on additional, targeted COVID relief legislation.
“Now, I won’t pretend we don’t have reservations about some of the measures Democrats have proposed.
“For instance, I don’t think an emergency COVID relief bill is the place to push through a change that would more than double the federal minimum wage and directly increase expenses on businesses that have been decimated by the pandemic.
“That’s a policy with a lot of economic consequences.
“And it should not be pushed through Congress in a hasty fashion.
“Republicans are also concerned about the enormous amount of money Democrats want to spend.
“We’ve already spent more than 4 trillion dollars to address this pandemic.
“And we need to be very careful about additional spending and appropriate only what is absolutely necessary to respond to this pandemic – and with an eye to the burden we’re putting on the economy and young Americans.
“The higher our national debt, the greater the drag on economic growth, and the more likely it is that young Americans will face increasingly burdensome tax bills in the future to meet our debt obligations.
“But let me be very clear, while Republicans certainly have concerns about some of Democrats’ proposals, we are committed to defeating this pandemic and getting Americans vaccinated.
“And we are ready to work with Democrats on any necessary additional COVID relief legislation.
“It would be very disappointing if Democrats decided to shove a partisan bill through Congress without even attempting to work with Republicans.
“Mr. President, before I close, I want to take a moment to recognize all those South Dakotans participating in the virtual March for Life tomorrow.
“We’ve gotten used to saying “it’s going to be a little different this year” during the pandemic, and that applies to the March for Life as well.
“Usually tens of thousands of Americans travel to Washington D.C. every January to participate in the March.
“Americans from every state in the union, of every political persuasion, of every religion (or none at all) – all united by their commitment to defending the dignity and value and humanity of the unborn child.
“This year, the March will be virtual.
“But pro-life Americans will still be united in spirit.
“To all those South Dakotans virtually marching tomorrow – and to all those Americans everywhere united in the pro-life cause – thank you.
“Thank you for standing up every year on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
“And most of all, thank you for everything you do throughout the year.
“Because the biggest work of the pro-life movement happens outside the March for Life.
“It happens in churches around America, where congregations collect money to support prenatal care for pregnant women in need or gather diapers and baby supplies to give to struggling mothers.
“It happens on college campuses, where pro-life students educate their peers about the reality of abortion.
“It happens in crisis pregnancy centers, where moms and dads facing unplanned pregnancies are met with resources and love and support.
“It happens at maternity homes, where single moms get the support they need to have their babies and build job skills or get an education.
“Every day, you are building a culture of life in this country with your work and your political action and your prayers.
“I know that it’s not always easy.
“But the race is not to the swift, nor to the strong … it is to those who endure.
“And I am confident that sooner or later, right and justice will prevail.
“Because we have the truth on our side.
“The truth that every human being, no matter how old or how young, no matter their race or the color of their skin, no matter their religion or political persuasion, is created in the image and likeness of God and has infinite dignity and worth.
“So keep standing up for the babies.
“And tomorrow I will be joining my prayers with yours that one day soon, the right to life of unborn human beings will be protected in law.
“May God bless you all.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”