Weekly Round[s] Up: April 24-30, 2023
We had a short week in DC this past week, but managed to pack a lot into three days! I met with South Dakotans from Amherst to Edgemont. Most of the South Dakotans I met with were from surface-level elevations, but I also met with leadership from the Sanford Underground Research Facility who work 4,850 feet below ground. I met with people who are well into their careers in education, insurance and agriculture fields, and a few employees-in-training, as young as two years old, who got their start in public service in our office this week. You’ll have to read to the end to find out who they are and why they were here! More on all of these friendly faces in my Weekly Round[s] Up:
South Dakota groups I visited with: Students from Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School; the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association; the Standing Rock Housing Authority; South Dakota members of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America; the Coalition of Large Tribes, including leadership from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribe; Mike Headley, Executive Director of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead; and Alyssa Cassels, South Dakota’s 2023 Teacher of the Year.
Meetings this past week: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense, who is currently chairing the Veterans Justice Commission at the Council on Criminal Justice. I attended an event at the Library of Congress with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, where he spoke about his work as an astrophysicist. We also had a joint session of Congress this past week where we heard from the President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol.
We had our weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, where I was our speaker this week! I focused my talk on the Beatitudes, specifically Matthew 5:9, which reads “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” There’s plenty to disagree on in Congress, but we are stronger when we build bridges, find common ground and work together for the American people.
Met with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Amherst, Clear Lake, Eagle Butte, Edgemont, Fort Pierre, Gregory, Herreid, Huron, Lead, Milbank, Oglala, Parmelee, Pierre, Pine Ridge, Rapid City, Rosebud, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Tulare, Volga and Wall.
Topics discussed: Housing needs on the Standing Rock reservation, the important work being done at SURF in Lead, state-based insurance regulations and diplomatic relations between the United States and South Korea.
Votes taken: 6 – One of these was on legislation to overturn President Biden’s EPA regulations that would impose stricter emissions standards on heavy-duty vehicles. I was an original cosponsor of this resolution and voted yes to pass it this week. Unfortunately, we expect President Biden to veto this resolution, thereby allowing the rule to take effect.
Hearings: I attended three hearings this week: two in the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and one in the Select Committee on Intelligence. At Thursday morning’s SASC hearing, I had the opportunity to discuss an issue faced by members of the South Dakota National Guard with General Christopher Cavoli. Ten South Dakota National Guard soldiers from the 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment did not receive payment for their meal expenses for their nine-month European Command deployment in support of operations in Ukraine, which recently ended. Our office was able to assist in correcting this issue. You can watch a clip of that here.
Classified briefings: One – I had our bi-weekly cyber education briefing.
Legislation introduced: I introduced the Securing our Border Act with Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) that would redirect $15 billion of funding passed by Democrats to hire 87,000 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and instead utilize it to bolster security measures along our southern border. You can read more about that legislation here.
My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Chamberlain, Highmore, Kennebec and Rapid City.
Steps taken this week: 60,695 steps or 27.98 miles.
Photos of the week: This past Thursday, we celebrated Take Your Child to Work Day in our office, where we had 7 employees-in-training hanging out with us all day. They colored lots of artwork that is now decorating the desks of several of our staff members – my desk included!