Weekly Round[s] Up: April 17-23, 2023
We’re back in Washington after two weeks in South Dakota for our Easter in-state work period. It was good to visit with so many South Dakotans about the issues that matter the most to them. From national defense and financial services issues out in Rapid City to visiting with students in Aberdeen about reforming the federal government’s role in the student loan process, South Dakota had a lot on its mind! Additionally, it was wonderful to be with friends and family to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now that the in-state work period is over, we’re scheduled to spend the next five work-weeks in session before Memorial Day. The year is going by fast! I know we usually say every week is a busy week, which is true, but this one was exceptionally full. Most of it, however, was meetings with South Dakotans in DC, which is always time well spent. I also attended seven hearings and other meetings, as well. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:
South Dakota groups I visited with: The South Dakota Rural Electric Association; the South Dakota chapter of the American College of Surgeons; South Dakota Farmers Union; South Dakota Telecommunications Association; South Dakota Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen and representatives from Travel South Dakota; Brandon Maddox with Silencer Central, which is based in Sioux Falls; South Dakota Trucking Association; and Chairman J. Garret Renville with members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate.
Meetings this past week: Chris Inglis, former National Cyber Director; and Tom Bossert, President of Trinity Cyber. I attended an event to hear from Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, an oncologist, researcher and author who is heavily involved in cancer research. We also had our Senate Prayer Breakfast, where Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland was our speaker.
Met with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Alcester, Bison, Britton, Caputa, Clear Lake, Colman, Custer, Dante, Freeman, Garretson, Gettysburg, Groton, Highmore, Hot Springs, Hoven, Huron, Ipswich, Isabel, Kimball, Lake Andes, Madison, Milbank, Mina, Mitchell, Murdo, New Effington, Onida, Parade, Pierre, Quinn, Rapid City, Rosholt, Salem, Sioux Falls, Sisseton, Tabor, Vermillion, Wagner, Wall, Wessington Springs and Yankton. 42 communities might be a new one-week record!
Topics discussed: Rural electricity and broadband, cybersecurity, spectrum auction authority and the start of tourism season in South Dakota.
Votes taken: 12 – one of these votes was on a resolution that would have overturned a VA rule that forces taxpayers to fund abortions at VA medical facilities. I disagree with this VA rule and voted to reverse this policy.
Hearings: I attended seven hearings this week! I had one hearing in the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee where we heard from President Biden’s nominee to be the Chair of his Council of Economic Advisors. I was able to question him on President Biden’s policy-induced inflation. You can watch our exchange here.
We had two full committee hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) this week: one with Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro (you can watch a clip of that here) and one with US Indo-Pacific Command. We also had one hearing in the SASC Strategic Forces Subcommittee, and one in the SASC Cybersecurity Subcommittee, on which I serve as Ranking Member. I had two hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Classified briefings: Two – one of which was on the leak of classified Pentagon documents. This leak will have national security implications and we will continue to have discussions about potential reforms that may need to be made to prevent situations like this from happening in the future.
Legislation introduced: I introduced the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act with 24 of my Senate colleagues this week. This bill would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from banning the use of traditional lead ammunition or tackle on public lands unless such action is supported by the best available science and state wildlife and fish agencies. More here.
My staff in South Dakota visited: Brookings, Hot Springs, Martin, Mitchell, Rapid City, Rochford, Sturgis and Wall.
Steps taken this week: 64,372 steps or 29.89 miles.
Video of the week: My Faith plays a large role in the work I do, as it does for many of my colleagues, Republican and Democrat alike. As you all know, since I mention them in every Round[s] Up, our weekly Senate Bible Study and Senate Prayer Breakfast meetings allow us to do just that over a common bond. Faith brings people together in a way that may not always make the news. Well, this time it did, and I was happy to discuss how Faith and fellowship help us work together to carry out our shared goal of serving others. I invite you to watch an interview on Fox News Sunday with Shannon Bream where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and I discuss our Senate Prayer Breakfast and Bible Study: