Weekly Column


With the Unnecessary Shutdown Over, We Can Get Back to the Important Issues Before Congress

I've been frustrated with Washington's broken budget process since coming to the Senate three years ago. Under our current system, rather than debating and passing appropriations bills to fund the government for a full year at a time, we have been operating under short-term, stopgap funding measures called "Continuing Resolutions" to keep the government open for just a few months or weeks at a time. Continuing Resolutions (CR) largely extend last year's spending levels and fail to provide long-t… Continue Reading


One South Dakotan’s Purple Heart Story, 73 Years Overdue

One of the important services that our Senate office provides to South Dakotans is assistance in dealing with federal agencies. Over the past three years that I've been in office, we have helped countless South Dakotans navigate the bureaucracy of the federal government. With such a large population of veterans living in our state, we often work with different agencies on behalf of veterans. In some cases, we're able to assist veterans in receiving overdue ribbons and commendations that have bee… Continue Reading


Tax Reform Can Enhance 2018 Goals

As we turn the page to a new year, January is a time in which many Americans take the opportunity to make positive changes in their lives. Business owners may seek to expand their businesses, entrepreneurs may seek to start a new enterprise, and families may wish to purchase a new car or save enough to buy their first home. With the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the opportunity to achieve these goals - whether personal or professional - is greatly enhanced. Now if you're looking … Continue Reading


2018 Brings us a Year Closer to America's 250th Birthday

Over the past three years, many of you have heard me talk about what we want our country to look like in 2026, the year we celebrate America's 250th birthday. I've said time and again that we must get away from the centralized, overregulated system of government that has stifled economic growth. In the past year, we've made great strides in getting back on track to a freer, less intrusive government. Just before Christmas, President Trump signed historic tax relief legislation into law, the … Continue Reading


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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