KANSAS CITY, Mo. — U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley says he wishes the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill were focused more on the pandemic.
The House passed final version of bill Wednesday with a 220-211 vote, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature, which is expected Friday.
The Missouri Republican said the bill isn’t focused enough on COVID-19, and he voted no when it was in the Senate because he’s concerned the money isn’t helping the working American people. Not a single Senate Republican voted for the bill.
“Only about 9% is actually going to go to COVID medical relief,” Hawley said. “I think that’s a missed opportunity. We need more infrastructure to stand up, medical infrastructure to stand that vaccine distribution.”
Along with more COVID-19 resources, Hawley said some of the missed opportunities in the bill are raising the minimum wage and making more vaccines available.
“We need more vaccine in the state of Missouri,” Hawley said. “We need more vaccine in the Kansas City region, and we need it fast as fast as possible.”
Right now, Missouri’s health department says 17% of people have had at least their first dose of the vaccine. A little more than 9% are fully vaccinated.
“Early on I think that there was a lag,” the senator said. “I really think the governor and his team have done a good job by taking the bull by the horns here and saying that we’ve got to get more vaccine out to more people.”
Hawley said he doesn’t want to turn people against one another by accusing one part of the state from getting for more doses than the other, but he does agree some areas in and around the Kansas City metro need more supply.