Weekly Column


Protecting the Integrity of U.S. Elections

Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our republic. With the 2018 midterm election less than three months away, making certain the integrity of our voting system remains intact is a top priority. When Americans cast their votes in an election, they are exercising their right to make their voice heard. Many of our young men and women in uniform fight every day to protect our ability to choose our own leaders safely and freely. Assuring American citizens that their voice will be heard when … Continue Reading


South Dakota Ag Community: Stability is Crucial as we do our Part to Feed and Fuel the World

In South Dakota and across the Midwest, harvest time is nearly upon us. Farmers are preparing to market their crop, and for many of them prices remain low. Low commodity prices and trade instability are having an impact on the ag industry in our state. Livestock producers are feeling the impact of tariffs as they work to market their products. To hear more about the issues farmers and ranchers are facing right now, I recently held an ag roundtable in Sioux Falls. We invited more than 20 ag leade… Continue Reading


EPA Must Live up to its Promise to Provide Certainty to Farmers

I recently had the opportunity to question Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler about a number of issues important to our farming community. Particularly, I am concerned about recent action the EPA has taken related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the impact those actions could have on our corn and ethanol producers. Passed in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the RFS is one of the most significant actions the federal government has taken on behalf of rura… Continue Reading


A New Direction at the VA

We are fortunate to live in the United States, where our men and women in uniform sacrifice so much to defend our liberty. We owe our servicemembers and veterans a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay. However, one thing we can do is uphold the promises our nation has made to them over the last several generations, and we can do that by making improvements and changes within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Senate recently confirmed Robert Wilkie to be the VA Secretary… Continue Reading


Economy is Improving, but Trade Instability Must be Addressed

Across the country, Americans are experiencing the benefits that come from a healthy, growing economy. In just the month of June, 213,000 new jobs were created and more than 600,000 people re-entered the work force. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, nearly 1.3 million jobs have been created. This growth is due in large part to policies enacted by the current Congress and the Trump Administration. In addition to strong job numbers, retail sales have increased for the fifth con… Continue Reading


Another Historic Opportunity to Shape the Direction of our Country

In June, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the United States Supreme Court after 30 years. While we thank him for his years of service and dedication to our legal system, his announcement provides an important vacancy on our nation's highest court. Confirming a president's nominees to lifetime appointments to the federal bench is one of the most important jobs of the U.S. Senate. The decisions they make have lasting effects on the direction of our country for a generation or … Continue Reading


Army Corps Sees Firsthand our Concerns about Missouri River Management

With summer in full swing, many South Dakotans have been taking advantage of the warm weather with some R&R along the Missouri. Jean and I have enjoyed spending time on the river with the kids and grandkids. However, I continue to be concerned about the Army Corps of Engineers' management of the river. With recent near-record rainfall in parts of the state and reports of significant flooding along the Missouri River System both north and south of us, many of us throughout the state continue … Continue Reading


Celebrating our Independence

Every year on the 4th of July, Americans join together to celebrate our independence. At that time in 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, breaking free from British rule and forming a new republic. In South Dakota, every town has their own celebration to mark this historic day. In Fort Pierre, where Jean and I live, there is a parade in the morning and a rodeo at night, followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the Missouri River. Across the state… Continue Reading


Taking Steps to Address our Broken Appropriations Process

Since coming to the Senate three-and-a-half years ago, fixing our broken appropriations system has been at the top of my priority list. South Dakotans have heard me talk about the fiscal problems our country is facing many times over the years. As I've said, one way to address our growing problem is to vote on appropriation bills each year instead of pushing through a two thousand page omnibus bill at the last minute. Getting back to 'regular order,' where we debate appropriation bills individu… Continue Reading


Protecting States’ Rights to Water

For many South Dakotans, the Missouri River is a constant in our lives. We have driven past it countless times, fished its waters and boated on it with our friends and families. It has also historically been a major water source for state and municipal projects. However, a U.S. Army Corps' of Engineers proposed rule, estimated to be finalized as early as this fall, would limit states' rights to the natural flow of water through river systems. The proposed rule, published during the previous … Continue Reading


Father's Day Lessons From Dads

Father's Day gives us a chance to celebrate dads and thank them for everything they do for their families. As any dad can attest, raising our four kids was both the hardest and most rewarding job I've ever had. Jean and I are incredibly proud of our kids, and we've enjoyed watching them grow and start families of their own. We look forward to spending time with them this Father's Day, however this year it will look a little different. This is the first Father's Day without my dad, Grandpa Don, … Continue Reading


Updating South Dakota’s Water Infrastructure

Fresh water is one of our most precious natural resources. We rely on it for everything from powering our homes and businesses, to drinking, showering and washing our cars, to boating, fishing and other recreation. In South Dakota, we also rely on the Missouri River to generate hydroelectricity, run our irrigation systems and more. I serve on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), which has jurisdiction over America's water infrastructure. When we think of the word "infr… Continue Reading


U.S. Economy is Improving Thanks to Pro-Growth Policies

The United States economy is looking up, thanks to the pro-growth policies implemented by the current administration and this congress. Since President Trump took office, 3 million new jobs have been created. Nearly 800,000 jobs have been created just since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted in January. Our economy is growing at a faster rate than previously expected. Prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the U.… Continue Reading


Showing Gratitude to South Dakota’s Veterans and Servicemembers

Each year on Memorial Day, we honor the lives of the men and women who bravely served our country and paid the ultimate price. We can never repay them for the sacrifice they made to defend the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. We can, however, work to improve the quality of life for veterans and provide our armed forces with the resources they need to be in the strongest position possible. I serve on both the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. We have rece… Continue Reading


Opening New Markets for South Dakota Producers

Agriculture is the economic engine for many communities across the upper Great Plains. Farmers and ranchers play a critical role in feeding and fueling a growing global population, and also in our national security strategy. When we can produce affordable, nutritious food here at home, we don't have to rely on other countries to obtain it. However, ag income has been in decline over the past five years, in part due to low commodity prices. I recently introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Ang… Continue Reading


Small Businesses are the Heartbeat of the American Economy

Each year during National Small Business Week, we celebrate the vital role of small businesses in American society today. Main street businesses are America's job creators. Over the past two decades, small businesses have generated 65 percent of all net new jobs. In fact, small businesses represent half of all jobs in the U.S., half the U.S. GDP and account for two out of every three new jobs created in the U.S. today. I had the opportunity this year to nominate a South Dakota small business… Continue Reading


Transparency is Critical When EPA Seeks to Implement New Rules

Whenever any federal agency tries to implement new rules, transparency behind the rule-making process is important so the American people have an opportunity to understand their potential impact. It's especially important at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has had a long history of creating burdensome, unnecessary regulations without giving the public an opportunity to fully vet the reasoning behind their decisions. I am pleased to see the current administration taking steps to … Continue Reading


The World Needs Strong U.S. Leadership Now More Than Ever

Earlier this month, the United States, in conjunction with our allies Great Britain and France, conducted missile strikes against three Syrian chemical facilities in response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack. It sent a strong message that the United States and two of its great European allies will not tolerate barbaric and inhumane chemical attacks on noncombatants. When Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's regime attacked its own citizens-including young children-with chemical … Continue Reading


Working Hard to Advance Pro-Growth Economic Policies

Each year in April, millions of Americans file their federal income tax returns. This year's tax day will be the final year using the old, broken system. Because of the recently-passed historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, next year will be the first year we can file under the modernized tax code. But already, Americans are feeling the benefits. In addition to simplifying the tax filing process, the tax reform law has allowed more Americans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. Businesses large… Continue Reading


Proposed Chinese Tariffs Will Hurt Ag

With 95 percent of the world's consumers living outside the U.S., free and fair trade in the international market is vital for American producers to thrive and grow. With approximately one-fifth of U.S. agriculture products going to foreign markets, our farmers and ranchers, in particular, benefit from positive trade agreements. China recently unveiled a proposal to impose an additional 25 percent tariff on more than 100 U.S. goods, including soybeans, wheat, corn and beef, and it has alread… Continue Reading

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