Weekly Column


Indian Health Service Continues to Let Down Tribal Members

Tribal members have been in the midst of a government-induced health care crisis for decades due to poor leadership and mismanagement at the Indian Health Service (IHS). For far too long, tribal members who rely on IHS for health care have faced unimaginable horrors. Troubling reports from a number of IHS facilities have found gross mismanagement, dirty medical equipment, broken sanitizers and blatant corruption. In one outrageous case, a woman gave birth to her baby on a bathroom floor with no … Continue Reading


As Americans, More Unites Us Than Divides Us

President Trump recently delivered his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Our Constitution requires the president to provide Congress with an update on the state of our union each year. Throughout our history, some presidents have opted to deliver their messages in person and others have sent in written messages. However, for the past 100 years, it has become the norm for presidents to deliver the message in person. I appreciated hearing from President Trump about … Continue Reading


USS South Dakota is Navy’s Newest Nuclear Submarine

USS South Dakota (SSN 790) is the Navy's newest nuclear submarine, commissioned on Feb. 2, 2019. It is the 17th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet. It was a true honor to be a part of the commissioning event. USS South Dakota will play an important role in the mission of our sailors, and it will also serve as a new symbolic link between our state and the Navy. According to the U.S. Navy, it has been designed to fulfill the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-s… Continue Reading


With Record Low Unemployment, South Dakota’s Workforce Needs H-2B Visa Workers

The national unemployment rate is at the lowest levels since 1969. In South Dakota, we have an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, which is one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. This is certainly something to be celebrated, but it also means our industries that rely on seasonal and temporary work have to seek outside workers when necessary. This is especially true for the tourism and construction industries, which will be seeking extra help from the springtime to early fall. One … Continue Reading


Corn Ethanol Production Plays Important Role in South Dakota’s Economy

Corn and corn ethanol production are vital components of South Dakota's economy. The corn ethanol industry supports thousands of jobs in our state and contributes a significant amount of revenue to our local communities. Corn ethanol has taken a hit in recent years, due in part to the high number of waivers issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to small refineries. This has reduced the amount of ethanol required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), thus reducing the demand for cor… Continue Reading


Cybersecurity Remains Top Priority in 116th Congress

As we get to work in the 116th Congress, increasing our nation's ability to defend against cyberattacks remains a top priority in the Senate. During the last congress, I had the privilege to serve as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, first established in 2017 by the late Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.). The creation of this subcommittee marked the first time in our nation's history that a congressional committee or subcommi… Continue Reading


Fixing Appropriations Process Must Be Top Priority in 2019

The American people expect results from the people they elect to Congress. This includes getting our appropriations work done on time. When we don't finalize the bills to fund the government before the end of the fiscal year, it becomes easier for different factions in the House and Senate to force a shutdown of the government over certain issues. This is what has happened with the current partial government shutdown over border security spending. While the majority of government services was fu… Continue Reading


Wrapping up 2018

As we wrap up the year, I'm pleased that we've been able to take steps to make Washington work a little better for all of us who live in South Dakota. We used the Congressional Review Act to roll back a total of 16 heavy-handed, Obama-era regulations that were hindering small businesses, farms, ranches and banks from reaching their full potential. The Trump administration has taken actions to stop or dismantle approximately 2000 federal regulations, which has saved Americans at least $50 billio… Continue Reading


Free to Celebrate the Holidays Thanks to the Men and Women in Uniform

This holiday season, Jean and I wish all South Dakotans a very merry Christmas and happy New Year. It's a good time of the year to spend with family and friends, participating in traditions and making memories that will last a lifetime. Some of our family's favorite traditions are from Christmas, which we are now passing down to our grandkids. We look forward to introducing our traditions to our youngest grandchild, Maverick Michael Rounds, who was born earlier this year. Nearly every year, our… Continue Reading


Five-Year Farm Bill Will Provide Certainty, Stability to South Dakota Ag Community

After months of negotiations, Congress recently passed a five-year farm bill with strong bipartisan support. This vital piece of legislation will provide certainty for farmers and ranchers across the country, and especially in South Dakota where our state's economy depends on agriculture. With more than 31,500 farms across the state, South Dakota ranks in the top 10 for ag production, providing a $21 billion dollar impact on our economy annually. With net farm income down 50 percent in the p… Continue Reading


Remembering a Great American

Across the country, Americans are mourning the loss of President George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who passed away on Nov. 30, 2018, at age 94. President Bush was an extraordinary man who exemplified everyday American values: faith, family and country. He married Barbara Pierce after World War II and together they had six children: George, Robin, Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. He and Barbara were married for 73 years when she passed away in April of this year. Pres… Continue Reading


Tax Reform Continues to Benefit American Families and Businesses One Year Later

Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law almost one year ago, more than 2 million jobs have been created, unemployment is at the lowest level since 1969, incomes continue to rise and our economy is strong. It has led to more jobs, bigger paychecks and a fairer tax system, especially for lower-and-middle-income Americans. The law lowered the tax rates in every income bracket, allowing all South Dakota families to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. It also doubled the child t… Continue Reading


Here to Serve

As a senator, much of my time is spent in committee meetings, voting on legislation and meeting with constituents. However, a major part of the job is to assist people with navigating the complex federal bureaucracy. In fact, "casework," as it's called, is a primary focus of our South Dakota offices. South Dakotans having trouble getting answers from a federal agency are welcome to contact my offices in Pierre, Sioux Falls, Rapid City or Aberdeen for assistance. Staff members in our South Dakot… Continue Reading


Election Wrap up and Look Ahead

As Americans, we recently participated in one of our country's most sacred traditions: voting for our state, local and federal elected officials. Closely coinciding with Veterans Day, we also recognize that it is because of our men and women in uniform that we are able to participate in our election process. Like so many elections past, the 2018 election was filled with seemingly endless advertisements, unexpected twists, some upsets and many long hours on the campaign trail for the candidates a… Continue Reading


South Dakota Honors Its Veterans

As South Dakotans, we are fortunate to live in the greatest state in the greatest nation in the world. The people who live here are what make South Dakota so great. They work hard, give back to their communities and care about their family and friends. South Dakotans also have a long history of honoring our military members and veterans, whose sacrifice and bravery allows us to go about our lives freely and safely each and every day. Nearly every town in the state does something special to t… Continue Reading


Delivering Results

When you sent me to the Senate, I promised to do all I could to get Washington working again. For too long, the red tape and excessive bureaucracy of the federal government hindered the ability of South Dakotans to succeed. Overregulation made it difficult for farmers, ranchers, small business owners and local financial institutions to do their jobs. Families were paying so much money in taxes that they weren't able to reinvest back into the economy. We still have work to do, particularly when i… Continue Reading


100 Years of Pheasant Hunting in South Dakota

Pheasant hunting season is a time of year that many South Dakotans look forward to for months. I've been looking forward to it since the end of last year's season! It's a time to pass down traditions and join friends and family in the fields. We're especially looking forward to this season, as it marks the 100th year of pheasant hunting in South Dakota. In 1918, our state established its first pheasant hunting season. The first official hunting season was actually held in 1919 in Spink Count… Continue Reading


Supreme Court Fight Highlights Need for More Civility

The Senate recently had the opportunity to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court-the second Supreme Court Justice we've confirmed since President Trump was elected. He was sworn in shortly after his confirmation vote. This is a positive move for all who believe the role of the judiciary is to interpret the law rather than legislate from the bench. I believe Justice Kavanaugh will call balls and strikes in a fair, unbiased manner. The United States Supreme Court is the nation's highest… Continue Reading


15th Annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

This October is the 15th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an initiative started by the Department of Homeland Security to highlight the importance of protecting our personal information online. As always, the goal is to make sure all Americans have the tools and knowledge they need to make safe and secure decisions on the internet and to improve our national cybersecurity efforts. Attempts to obtain sensitive information online and execute successful cyberattacks are increasing… Continue Reading


Celebrating Native American History in South Dakota

While the Senate has been focused on the Supreme Court nomination hearing in Washington, we have continued to work on issues that affect South Dakotans. We'll discuss the Supreme Court hearing in one of our next weekly columns. Every October, South Dakota celebrates the rich culture and the many contributions made by Native Americans who called this land home long before Europeans settled in the West. Native Americans' Day is a state holiday started in 1990, and it replaces what used to be call… Continue Reading

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