Weekly Column


Ten Years of Obamacare

This month marks the ten-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act-or Obamacare-being signed into law. Obamacare dramatically changed the healthcare landscape across the United States, and not in a good way. Over the past decade, Obamacare has led to higher premiums, fewer healthcare choices and millions of Americans losing the health insurance they enjoyed. We believe in giving all Americans access to affordable, reliable health care coverage that put patients in control of their healthcare d… Continue Reading


Protecting Your Health During Coronavirus Outbreak

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, we should take precautions to stay healthy. Coronaviruses are a family of many different viruses. The strain of the coronavirus that we're currently concerned about is officially named SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is called COVID-19. As of March 5, South Dakota has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, it is still important to be prepared. The administration is taking steps to make sure our country is ready to handle a greater … Continue Reading


Thank you for Your Prayers and Support

The past ten months have been the hardest challenge we've faced as a family, and that I have faced personally. In May of 2019, I was diagnosed with a malignant, high-grade, aggressive tumor near my sciatic nerve-a sarcoma. Prior to the diagnosis, I had been experiencing a lot of pain and was visiting the doctor frequently. We knew something was going on but weren't sure what exactly we were dealing with. After we got the diagnosis, Mike and I sat our kids down and told them about the sarcoma. We… Continue Reading


Maintaining the Integrity of Our Election Process

Our system of government in the United States is founded on free and fair elections. With the 2020 election already underway, protecting the integrity of our election process remains a priority of mine. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I've worked to make certain the Department of Defense (DOD) can fulfill its role for election security. While I've been working with senior DOD officials, the responsibility to keep our elections secure crosses many agencies… Continue Reading


Improving Life in Rural America

The majority of South Dakota is rural. We're a large state with a small population-we average just under 11 people per square mile. Comparatively, New York's population density is nearly 40 times that, with approximately 421 people living per square mile. In New York City, the population jumps to more than 26,000 people per square mile. As Americans, we celebrate our country's diversity and differences. But it also means we have unique challenges in different parts of the country. Rural and urba… Continue Reading


With Impeachment Behind Us, It’s Time to get Back to Work for South Dakotans

The Senate recently voted to acquit the president of the two Articles of Impeachment sent to us by the House of Representatives, falling 19 and 20 votes short of the 67 needed to remove him from office. I voted against the articles of impeachment, in keeping with the constitutional intent our framers expected. Throughout the process, I listened carefully as the House Managers and the president's defense team made their cases to the Senate, taking over 130 pages of notes over the course of th… Continue Reading


Working for South Dakotans

While the Senate is conducting the impeachment trial, we are unable to hold votes on the full Senate floor without agreement of all 100 senators. So all other Senate business has virtually come to a halt. Important nominations are not being confirmed and legislation is not being considered that could benefit South Dakota families. While this is frustrating to many of us, we are still able to get some work done while we're not in the trial. Most days, the trial has started at 1:00 p.m., allowing … Continue Reading


The Sanctity of Human Life

Right now in the Senate, we are spending many hours each day listening to arguments about the impeachment of President Trump. It's a historic time in our country. Once the trial is finished, I plan to write a weekly column sharing my thoughts on the impeachment process. It's a responsibility I take very seriously. The impeachment trial begins every day (except Sundays) at 1 p.m., so I have had some time in the mornings to focus on my other Senate duties. This includes meeting with South Dakotans… Continue Reading


What Recent Trade Wins Mean for South Dakota

As any South Dakota farmer or rancher will tell you, having a market to sell their products is vitally important to the success of their operations. In South Dakota, we produce some of the highest-quality crops and meat in the world. However, trade uncertainty-coupled with low commodity prices and poor weather conditions-has made life difficult for ag producers. After years of being at the tip of the spear in ongoing trade disputes, South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and manufacturers saw some maj… Continue Reading


U.S.-Iran Relations: A Primer

For more than four decades, Iran has been a nefarious actor on the international stage. They've spent billions of dollars supporting terrorist activities across the globe, wreaking havoc in the Middle East and threatening to destroy the United States and our allies. We've seen this escalate in recent weeks as they killed an American contractor in Iraq and orchestrated the storming of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, putting American lives in danger. President Trump made the bold decision to take ou… Continue Reading


Two Years Later, Tax Reform Continues to Help South Dakota Families, Small Businesses

Historic tax reform legislation was signed into law by President Trump just over two years ago, and it has had a positive impact for South Dakota families and small businesses. Entrepreneurs are feeling optimistic about their businesses, and are reinvesting savings from tax cuts back into their businesses and their employees. Wages are rising and new jobs are being created. The average American household can expect a lifetime gain of around $25,000 thanks to tax reform. One of the many reasons … Continue Reading


2019 in Review

As 2019 comes to a close, I've had time to reflect on the past year. As a state, we celebrated the commissioning of the USS South Dakota, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine designed to fulfill 21st century mission requirements. We also worked to secure Ellsworth Air Force Base as the location for the first two B-21 Raider bomber squadrons - the training squadron and the operational squadron - solidifying Ellsworth's long-term role in our national security. We were also hit hard by Mother Nature … Continue Reading


The Magic of Christmas

As we celebrate the holidays with our loved ones, we are reminded of the true reason for the season: the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. His teachings remind us to be kind to others, share our gratitude for all the good things in our lives and give back to those less fortunate. Through these acts, we can experience the real magic of Christmas. You may be surprised to hear that Christmas magic is alive and well even in the most unlikely of places-the United States Capitol. Despite what you t… Continue Reading


South Dakota Well-Represented in Defense Authorization Bill

Every year for nearly 60 years, Congress has worked in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). By the end of 2019, we will have passed the 59th NDAA in a row. This one, which authorizes funding for the military for Fiscal Year 2020, includes some major wins for South Dakota, to include Ellsworth Air Force Base and Dakota State University (DSU). As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of our Cybersecurity Subcommittee, I wo… Continue Reading


A Better Way to Determine How Your Tax Dollars are Spent

Again this month, Congress is operating under a Continuing Resolution, or CR, that expires just a few days before Christmas. The intent is to back Members of Congress and the White House into a corner, hoping they will be willing to accept a massive end-of-year spending package that they might otherwise oppose. This is not a new phenomenon - it's been happening under our modern budget process since 1974. But that doesn't mean we have to accept it. We must demand better when it comes to deciding … Continue Reading


Extra Gratitude at our Thanksgiving Table This Year

Jean and I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all South Dakotans. This season provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we've received this year. Like every year, I continue to be thankful for the love and support of my family, as well as the opportunity South Dakotans have given me to represent you in the United States Senate. It's an honor that I will never take for granted. And of course, none of us would be able to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday if not for the service an… Continue Reading


South Dakota Families Honored During National Adoption Month

The month of November is recognized as National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness of children in need of a permanent, loving home. Opening one's home to a child in need of a loving family and secure environment is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. And as many adoptive families have told me, they too feel blessed to have their kids. The countless South Dakota families who have chosen adoption continue to be an inspiration to us all. Take the O'Connor family from Rapid City fo… Continue Reading


Supporting Veterans Every Day

In South Dakota, we support our veterans every day of the year, not just on Veterans Day. Veterans actually make up 10 percent of our state's population! Nearly all of us have a friend or family member who served, or you're a veteran yourself. The men and women whose sacrifice and bravery allows us to live freely are among the best of the best. We owe it to them to make sure they receive the benefits they were promised when they signed up to serve. I have the privilege of serving on the Senate … Continue Reading


Only U.S. Beef Should be Labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.”

South Dakota and American cattle producers raise the best beef in the world. Many families specifically seek out these high-quality products when choosing what beef to purchase at the grocery store. However, some families may not realize that not all meat labeled "Product of the U.S.A." is actually beef from cattle raised within the United States. Current federal regulations include a loophole that allows beef from livestock born, raised and slaughtered in foreign countries to be labeled "Produc… Continue Reading


Pass the USMCA

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) is the trade deal President Trump negotiated to replace and improve upon the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement-NAFTA. The three countries signed it nearly one year ago, but it has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Congress. This agreement would be beneficial not only for our national economy, but also the economy of our state which relies heavily on agriculture. Once the USMCA is finalized, it will create additional access for U.S. agricultura… Continue Reading

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