Weekly Column


Six Year Check-Up of Obamacare

Six years ago, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. Commonly called Obamacare, this law was intended to provide all Americans with access to quality, affordable, low-cost health care. Not surprisingly, we have found that the opposite is happening. Instead, health care costs are soaring, premiums have risen at record rates and access to care continues to challenge consumers. And there is no sign of these damaging effects slowing down. For many families across the Unite… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: The Opioid Epidemic Affects All of Us

Across South Dakota and the United States, prescription painkiller and heroin abuse is increasing. In the last 15 years, abuse of opioids has risen more than 200 percent. It is tearing apart families, ruining lives and killing individuals who suffer from addiction throughout the entire country. It's important to address this growing epidemic and reverse this dangerous trend. Tragically, 44 Americans die each day from overdosing on painkillers. And South Dakota isn't immune: In 2014, 63 South Da… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Renewing Your Passport

South Dakotans who plan to travel abroad this year should make certain their passport is current. Or, if it is about to expire, they should renew their passport immediately to avoid delays or backlogs. The reason is because nearly 10 years ago, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative required every U.S. citizen to have a passport to travel to all countries-including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Previously, U.S citizens often only needed to verbally declare their citizenship. Because pas… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Justice Scalia: The Gold Standard

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be greatly missed by his family and loved ones, as well as all Americans who share his core conservative values and beliefs. For almost 30 years, Justice Scalia was one of the court's strongest defenders of our Constitution. His brilliant legal mind and animated character will be remembered, studied and celebrated for generations to come. The Senate recently paid its respects to Justice Scalia by unanimously passing a resolution honoring his life, legacy… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Recognizing the Mental Health Needs of Our Veterans

South Dakota is home to more than 72,000 veterans who have bravely and selflessly served our country. Making sure each veteran is cared for and receives top-notch health care has been a priority for me while working in the Senate. While there are many problems plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), addressing mental health reform is among the most important. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 10 to 20 percent of veterans returning from Operations Iraqi and Enduring … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Defending Against a Cyber-Attack

As many of our nation's top military officials have pointed out, we are facing some of the most serious threats since World War II. But unlike World War II, some of today's threats differ significantly from the nuclear and conventional military threats that have largely shaped our national security programs for many decades. As we saw during the Paris terror attacks last fall, terrorists are using sophisticated technology to help carry out their attacks. Technological advances - and our increas… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Indian Affairs Hearing a Call to Action

Lack of adequate and timely health care in Indian Country has been an ongoing issue for many years. The Indian Health Service (IHS) of the Great Plains region, which is responsible for providing health care to all nine tribes in South Dakota, is failing to live up to the federal government's responsibility to deliver quality health care to Native Americans. Troubling reports from a number of IHS facilities-including Rosebud and Pine Ridge - have found gross mismanagement, dirty medical equipmen… Continue Reading


Long-Term Budget Forecast: Debt Crisis is Here

While Washington, D.C., was digging out of nearly two feet of snow from winter storm Jonas last week, another kind of storm was unveiled to the American public: the federal budget outlook for the next ten years. The report, issued by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), forecasts a grim future for our country if we don't begin to act now to rein in spending and address our country's $18 trillion debt. The report painted a picture of our economic outlook that is even worse than pre… Continue Reading


National Security: A Top Concern Left Unaddressed at the State of the Union

In the President's final State of the Union Address, many of us had hoped to hear him propose serious ideas for reaching across the aisle to address the challenges our country faces. Instead, we heard more of the same rhetoric that has failed to produce the kind of results the American people are looking for. It's no surprise only 23 percent of our country thinks we are headed in the right direction. The VA is broken, Obamacare is failing, manufacturing has shrunk, our debt has skyrocketed and n… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Looking Ahead to 2016

It has been a year since I was sworn into the United States Senate. When you trusted me with your vote to represent you in Washington, I promised to work to reduce burdensome regulations, promote pro-growth policies and make the government more effective and efficient. The new Republican-led Senate got to work right away, passing legislation to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a balanced budget, repeal major provisions of Obamacare, update the Toxic Substance Chemical Control … Continue Reading


New Year’s Resolutions for the Senate

As we ring in 2016, many South Dakotans will make New Year's Resolutions for themselves. Oftentimes, these resolutions are self-improvement goals for the year ahead. As I began thinking about what lies ahead for the Senate in 2016, I started to think about New Year's resolutions the Senate could adopt to help it operate more efficiently, so that we can better deliver on our promises to the American people. These suggestions, which we already do in South Dakota, are simple tactics to help suppres… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: A Long-Term Highway Bill for South Dakota

A healthy economy is dependent on a strong and reliable transportation system. In South Dakota, we rely on the Interstate System and the National Highway System to travel across the state to do business and visit friends and family in other towns. We, and others, also use these roads to transport roughly $20 billion in goods each year. All of this wear and tear on our highway system means our roads and bridges must be regularly repaired and updated. But this routine maintenance has become increa… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Repeal and Replace Obamacare

The American people deserve a healthcare system that works for them, not against them. One that is truly affordable for all families, offers viable health insurance options and strengthens patient-provider relationships. Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, fails on all these fronts. Instead, the ACA has brought about more government, more bureaucracy and more rules and regulations that have resulted in soaring health care costs and less access to care for families across … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Standing with our French Allies

South Dakotans - and all Americans - stand united with France after last week's terror attacks in Paris. With 129 murdered and more than 350 wounded, they were the deadliest terror attacks in Europe in more than a decade. We continue to pray for those we lost and stand united with our friends in France as they recover from this terrible tragedy. The attacks in Paris are a sobering reminder that we are at war with radical jihadists who seek to harm Americans and invoke terror throughout the wor… Continue Reading


We Thank Our Veterans, Now Let’s Improve Their Care

On November 11, South Dakotans across the state once again gathered in auditoriums, gymnasiums, Legion halls and at memorials to recognize the service and sacrifices of our veterans. Since statehood, generations of South Dakotans have answered the call to serve in times of war, peace and uncertainty around the world. With one of the highest rates of military membership per capita in the nation, almost all of us know a loved one who served in the military. As a member of the Senate Veterans' Aff… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Saying ‘Thank You’ to our Veterans

Veterans Day is a special time to thank the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America, past and present, and acknowledge those who have sacrificed everything to protect our God-given freedoms. We are eternally grateful to them for not only keeping us safe here at home, but also for granting freedom and democracy to millions of people across the world. Every freedom we have - our entire way of life - is because of our veterans and their loved ones back home who supported … Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Perpetual Conservation Easements: Forever Is a Long Time

In South Dakota, we take great pride in our land. We rely on our vast natural resources for nearly every aspect of our lives: to provide clean water, maximize ag production, provide recreation, attract tourism and more. As such, we are good stewards of our land and are willing to work with state, federal and local governments to keep it in tact for future generations. However, when it comes to permanent conservation easements, I have never been a fan. I am in favor of giving landowners the optio… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: EPA's Faulty Analysis

South Dakotans continue to suffer from overreaching, misguided rules being promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since President Obama took office, the EPA has issued more than 3,300 new final regulations, averaging more than one a day. Last year alone, these rules resulted in an estimated $42 billion in compliance costs, and the public has been forced to foot the bill. These additional costs have led to greater uncertainty for job creators and Ag producers, hindering economi… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Native Americans' Day

In South Dakota, we celebrate Native Americans' Day rather than the federal holiday known as Columbus Day. This historic state holiday originated in 1990 when Governor George S. Mickelson and members of the nine tribal governments in South Dakota proclaimed 1990 a Year of Reconciliation. This was our way of observing and honoring the rich and deep history of tribal people in our state. Our mutual goal was to engage the public and expose us all to Native American heritage and culture, acknowledg… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Support Our Troops

As the United States continues to face grave threats at home and abroad, it is as important as ever to make sure our armed forces have our full support. Between the rise of ISIS and Hezbollah and the alliance between Russia and Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the U.S. military must be prepared to address multiple threats throughout the world. I was pleased that the Senate, with strong bipartisan support, recently passed the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, commonly referred to … Continue Reading

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