HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s senior U.S. Senator Brian Schatz says it could be nearly a month before President Biden’s nearly $2 trillion COVID relief bill is approved.
Hawaii’s legislature is desperate for the state’s share of that money to help balance the budget.
The U.S. House is scheduled to vote on the relief measure next week, but the success of the bill is up in the air as some republicans insist the total cost is too high. Sen. Schatz says there are still many details to be negotiated.
“Everybody is facing economic extinction and the object of this legislation is to allow us to survive this moment, not necessarily to solve any long term structural challenges in the states revenue and expenditure,” Sen. Schatz said. “We hope it’s enough money to stop any talk of layoffs and furloughs.”
He added that the bill also includes money to help public schools reopen to more students. He’s calling on state leaders to try to reopen all campuses by the fall, based on new CDC guidelines.
”I just think it’s possible to do. And it may be that the COVID spike — and we have to back off, or maybe the logistics are just too difficult to overcome and we have to back off, But all I am saying is lets try,” Schatz added.
He hopes to see students back to in-person learning in time for the fourth quarter.