Weekly Column


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


Weekly Column: Staying Safe Online

The internet has become such an integral part of our daily lives that most of us take it for granted. It is where we go to read the news, pay our bills, socialize with others, do our shopping and conduct important business. Over the last 15 years, the number of internet users has risen across the world from about 360 million to more than 3 billion. While the World Wide Web has helped us stay connected with loved ones and become more efficient in our daily lives, we must be mindful of hacker… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Pope Francis' Inspiring Message

Washington, D.C., recently hosted Pope Francis during his first visit to the United States. Not just Catholics, but citizens across the country have been preparing for his much-anticipated trip to our capital city. Tens of thousands flocked to the city to attend a special Mass, catch a glimpse of the pope-mobile or watch the pope's address to Congress on the West Lawn of the Capitol. As lifelong members of the Catholic Church, it has been a truly special experience for Jean and me to participate… Continue Reading


Weekly Column: Back to School

With September in full swing, students across the state are back in the classroom to begin a new school year. Making sure our kids receive a top-notch education is important to me as a former governor and state legislator, current U.S. Senator and most importantly, a grandfather to eight. The young people learning, growing and thriving in our schools today will be our next generation of engineers, economists, lawyers, doctors, business owners and community leaders. A strong education system will… Continue Reading


The President’s Nuclear Concession Deal

This month, as we pause to recognize the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 and 2012 Benghazi terror attacks and remember those we lost, we are reminded of the freedoms and values we hold dear as Americans. We are also reminded just how different our country is now than it was on September 10, 2001. The threats we face today pose the most complex and uncertain international environment for the U.S. since the end of World War II. The foreign policy decisions we make today will undoubtedly have… Continue Reading


Responsible Spending Starts with a Budget Process

With the elections far behind us and so many pressing issues before us - the Iran deal, the rise of ISIS and "lone wolf" terrorists, a national highway bill and cyber security - the need to address our budgetary crisis has fallen out of the limelight recently. But failing to make front-page news doesn't change the fact that our national debt has more than doubled in the last decade and irresponsible, reckless spending continues to threaten our economy and national security. When you elected me t… Continue Reading


Thanking our VSOs

In my first eight months working as a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I'm beginning to learn just how complicated it can be for our veterans to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to obtain promised benefits and utilize the agency's wide range of services. While trying to navigate the VA and its benefits, there are a number of resources veterans can tap into for help. Veterans Service Officers, who are employed by counties and tribes in South Dakota, are but one g… Continue Reading


Angels in Adoption

Providing children with a loving home is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. Strong families are an important pillar of society that help bring stability to communities and teach core values to future generations. Every child deserves the love and support that a family provides. I applaud those who are committed to strong and healthy families, especially those involved in adoption and foster care. That is why it is an honor to nominate Bethany Christian Services of Eastern and Western Sou… Continue Reading

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