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Weekly Column: My First 100 Days

My first 100 days working as a U.S. Senator have been full of activity.  When the people of South Dakota elected me to the Senate, I made them a promise to help get things working in Washington again. For too long, our federal government has been mired in dysfunction and lack of accountability. The new Republican majority in Congress has been working hard to get government back on track. Already, we have made significant progress.

In the senate, we have passed many important bipartisan bills, including veterans’ suicide prevention legislation, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and most recently, a bill that will strengthen Medicare for patients and their providers. We have opened up the amendment process on the Senate floor, allowing for full, robust debate on every issue. In the three and a half months since taking office, we have held roughly seven times as many amendment roll call votes as were conducted all of last year under Democrat leadership. Our goal is to make the Senate work as it was intended, with an open legislative process to help end the gridlock that has defined Washington for far too long.

The new Republican majority also passed a budget this year— something that rarely happened under previous leadership. Additionally, our budget balances in 10 years, something that neither the President nor previous leaderships’ budgets accomplished. Our budget plan offers a responsible path forward to corral our fiscal problems and reflects a number of my top priorities: growing our economy so folks have more take-home pay each month, creating new jobs, repealing Obamacare, funding our military at proper levels and reining in our national debt. We will now have twelve opportunities in twelve different appropriations bills in which we can impact how money at the federal level is being spent, making sure it is spent responsibly and that middle class Americans are protected from burdensome taxes and regulations.

My offices in South Dakota have been busy during our first 100 days as well. They serve as my eyes and ears while I am in Washington, talking to constituents and helping them with their federal government-related issues. We have helped dozens of South Dakotans by expediting delayed passports in critical moments and helped veterans obtain overdue benefits they have been promised. We can step in when people are having problems with any federal government agency, acting as a liaison for the constituent. The ability to make a real difference in the lives of individual South Dakotans is one of the best parts of serving in the Senate. 

The American people deserve a government that is effective, efficient and accountable. Government ought to be working for the people, not against them. When I was elected to the Senate, I made a promise to the people of South Dakota that I would help get government working again. I remain as committed as ever to fulfilling that promise. It won’t get done overnight, but if these first 100 days are any indication, we are on the right path.