Weekly Column

12.20.17

Restoring Balance to the Court System

In the United States, we expect our judicial system to treat all Americans equally. After all, it is our judicial system which we rely on to assure due process of law. The federal courts play a critical role in our constitutional system. Because of this, it is important that federal judges faithfully apply the law as written. This year, the Senate has been able to put a number of highly-qualified judges on the federal bench who are committed to fulfilling that role. The process for filling vac… Continue Reading


12.15.17

Celebrating Christmas in South Dakota

As we approach the end of the year, I have been reflecting on the highlights of 2017. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, the holiday season provides a good opportunity to recount our blessings and celebrate the birth of Jesus, and the promise of a loving God who offered to us his only Son. At the top of our family's list of blessings this year is the birth of our ninth grandchild, Cohen. For Jean and me, family is our greatest gift, and we are looking forward to spending additio… Continue Reading


12.08.17

Broken Budget System Wastes Taxpayer Dollars, Hurts Military

The federal government's budget process hasn't worked in more than four decades. I have been a vocal critic of the current system, which largely rubber-stamps federal spending with very little debate or discussion. I recently voted "no" on a continuing resolution, which funds the government for two weeks, through December 22, 2017. This is not a decision I take lightly, and I'd like to take this opportunity to explain what led me to this decision. This year, working within this broken syste… Continue Reading


12.02.17

Making Good on our Promise

For too long, American families and businesses have been stuck with a complicated, costly tax code that has hindered economic growth and prosperity. Since being sworn into the Senate in 2015, reforming the code that will provide much-needed tax relief for South Dakota families has been one of my top priorities. Now that the Senate passed its version of tax reform, we are closer than ever to making tax relief a reality. It has been more than 30 years since our tax code has been reformed. Sin… Continue Reading


11.22.17

Regulatory Relief for Community Banks and Credit Unions

In South Dakota, our local banks and credit unions play an important role in helping our businesses thrive and our communities grow. Local financial institutions help families buy a home, start a new business or save for the future. As a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, one of my priorities has been to relieve community banks and credit unions from the unnecessary regulatory burdens imposed on them. I recently joined a bipartisan group of Banking Committee m… Continue Reading


11.17.17

Thankful

This Thanksgiving, as we get together with family and friends, Jean and I would once again like to send our warmest wishes to all South Dakotans. During this festive time of the year, let's not forget that the first Thanksgiving was a time to thank the good Lord for all of our blessings. I am especially thankful for the opportunity to be able to work on your behalf in the United States Senate. Even when the debates on Capitol Hill get contentious, working for the people of South Dakota is a priv… Continue Reading


11.09.17

Honoring Native American Heritage

The rich and vibrant history of Native Americans is deeply woven into the fabric of America, especially in South Dakota. I believe we should celebrate our diversity. To honor their culture and the countless contributions Native Americans have made to our society, President Trump recently designated November as National Native American Heritage Month. Native Americans called South Dakota home long before Europeans settled in the West. South Dakota was originally a part of the vast territory … Continue Reading


11.03.17

Thank You, Veterans

The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States make incredible sacrifices for us, and every year on November 11 we pay tribute to them and all they have done to defend our freedoms. Veterans Day is a reminder to all of us to thank those who have bravely answered the call to serve. As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I have been working on proposals to improve the quality o… Continue Reading


10.27.17

South Dakota’s Economy Benefits from NAFTA

Free and fair trade is vital to South Dakota's economy. Not only does it open up important markets for South Dakota products, it results in higher wages and supports our small businesses and producers. Last year, we exported $1.2 billion in products to other countries, including goods, machinery and electronic equipment. In particular, the North American Free Trade Agreement-NAFTA-between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, South Dakota's top two exporters in 2016, continues to benefit our farmers, ran… Continue Reading


10.20.17

A South Dakota Tradition

We are fortunate to be home to the country's best pheasant hunting, and opening day of pheasant season is a weekend South Dakotans look forward to all year. I'll once again be spending opening weekend near Presho, hunting with family and friends. One of the aspects of hunting I enjoy so much is the camaraderie. Our kids grew up learning to hunt, and all four are planning to join us in the fields this fall, along with their own families. My oldest grandson will have the opportunity to mentor … Continue Reading


10.13.17

Protecting Ourselves from Cyber Threats

Cyberattacks are becoming more and more common, as the internet has become such an integral part of our daily lives. We are putting more of our personal information online than ever before, whether it's when we do our online banking, make a purchase, pay bills or something as simple as sharing photos on social media. It is important that we take steps to protect ourselves from cyberattacks. The month of October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is… Continue Reading


10.06.17

Upcoming Farm Bill Discussions a Golden Opportunity to Empower South Dakota Ag

In the next 12 months, Congress will ramp up its work on the reauthorization of the farm bill, which expires Sept. 30, 2018. With the farm economy struggling over the past four years and commodity prices down, the policy changes we enact in this farm bill are as important as ever. I've been talking closely with farmers and ranchers across the state about their priorities for the upcoming farm bill to make sure their voices are heard. One major issue that I hear about time and again is that p… Continue Reading


09.29.17

Newspapers are the Heart of Local Communities

South Dakota's 126 daily and weekly newspapers are the heart of communities across our state. Local papers play a vital role in keeping citizens informed of what's happening in their hometown, from decisions being made at city hall to milestone anniversaries and other celebrations within the community. They also allow us to learn and understand events happening across the globe, right from the comfort of our homes. Reading the paper over a cup of coffee each morning is a part of my daily routine… Continue Reading


09.22.17

Strengthening our Armed Forces

As it has for the past 56 years, the Senate again passed bipartisan legislation to provide for the defense of our nation. The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, is one of the most important pieces of legislation to pass out of Congress each year, as it provides our armed forces with the tools to successfully complete their missions and keep us safe. This year's NDAA includes provisions that will rebuild our military, at a time when it is the smallest it has been since World War II. … Continue Reading


09.15.17

20 Trillion Reasons to Reform Taxes and Mandatory Payment Programs

The federal government's national debt recently surpassed $20 trillion. While there is plenty of blame to go around, the majority of this debt can be attributed to the past decade, as our debt was $10.6 trillion at the start of 2009. In other words, in the past eight years, the federal government has accrued as much debt as it accrued throughout the first 230 years of our country's existence. It's no wonder military leaders acknowledge it as being a top threat to our national security. Even mor… Continue Reading


09.08.17

Trade Agreements Vital to South Dakota’s Economy

Free and fair trade plays an important role in the American economy. It not only leads to more jobs and higher wages, it allows American producers to promote and sell their goods across the globe by leveling the playing field with other competitors. Our farm economy, in particular, benefits from trade agreements. As our number one industry in South Dakota, I continue to promote and prioritize trade agreements that benefit our farmers and ranchers. I continue to hear from South Dakota produce… Continue Reading


09.01.17

Thank you for your Hospitality

August is an important month for me. It is the traditional time in which members of Congress spend extended time back home, and this year was no exception. During the shortened in-state work period, I had the opportunity to travel across the state for various events. We held open coffees in Chamberlain and Deadwood, as well as other ceremonies, roundtables and meetings in Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Huron and elsewhere. I thank those of you who took the time out of your day to mee… Continue Reading


08.18.17

Dakotafest Annual Opportunity to Bring All Ag Groups Together

For more than two decades, Dakotafest has been an annual event that brings together ag leaders and producers from across the state together into one place. With nearly 500 agribusinesses on-site to showcase their latest products, it is one of the premier ag events of the Northern Plains. I was grateful for the opportunity to join Sen. John Thune, Rep. Kristi Noem and area producers for Dakotafest's annual farm policy forum again this year. Hearing firsthand from South Dakota producers is critica… Continue Reading


08.11.17

Standing Strong Against Foreign Aggression

Today, as threats to the United States continue to grow across the globe, it is important to remind ourselves that we remain the strongest, most powerful country in the world and can face any challenge presented by America's enemies. The U.S. military is the most sophisticated and capable fighting force the world has ever seen, and, with continued support from Congress and the president, can regain the required level of readiness lost during years of underfunding. As a member of the Senate Armed… Continue Reading


08.03.17

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Rolls into Town

Every August, South Dakota welcomes hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists from across the country to participate in the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. No single week in the entire year boasts a greater influx in the state's overall population than the week of the rally and the weeks before and after the rally. During this time, motorcyclists gather together in perhaps the largest bike gathering of all time. What began as a single motorcycle race in 1938, the weeklong rally takes place in … Continue Reading

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