Skip to content

Weekly Round[s] Up: December 11-17, 2023

Welcome back to another edition of the Weekly Round[s] Up. For the past several weeks, I’ve talked about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in this section and our need to pass it before the end of the year. This past week, we got it done: the NDAA passed both the Senate and the House, heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law. We also continue discussions on border policies to move the supplemental aid bill for Ukraine and Israel forward. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:

Meetings this past week: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine; Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase; Kristen Welker, host of NBC’s Meet the Press; Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe; Bruce Byrd, Executive VP and General Counsel of Palo Alto Networks; and Steve Bowsher, CEO of In-Q-Tel. I also attended several meetings with the Select Committee on Intelligence.

I attended a meeting hosted by my colleague Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and the American Jewish Committee. We met with a delegation of family members and survivors of the October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel.

This past week, I hosted our Senate Bible Study in my office again, where we discussed 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We had our Senate Prayer Breakfast, as well. Every year during the holiday season, we have one gathering where we sing Christmas carols instead of having a traditional speaker. It’s a good way to bring some Christmas cheer to a Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill!

Votes taken: 11 – many of these were on nominations for judges and one for the National Cyber Director. As I mentioned, we also passed the NDAA, which you can read more about in the next section.

National Defense Authorization Act: The NDAA is a critical piece of legislation that authorizes funding for our national security and our military. The NDAA has passed on a bipartisan basis for 63 consecutive years, with members coming together to support our national security, our service members and their families. I authored 33 provisions in this year’s NDAA, which includes several wins for South Dakota and the United States. Here are a few I’m particularly excited about:

  • Creates a congressional charter for the National American Indian Veterans
  • Authorizes the DOD to conduct cyber operations against a range of Mexican transnational criminal organizations, drug cartels chief among them, and requires a related strategy on how to counter them.
  • Provides a 5.2 percent pay raise for both military service members and DOD civilian workforce.
  • Authorizes $269 million for construction projects at Ellsworth Air Force Base, including $34 million for B-21 Phase Hangar, $160 million for B-21 Weapons generation facility and $75 million for B-21 Fuel System Maintenance Dock.
  • Authorizes $2.325 billion for B-21 procurement.
  • Authorizes $66.8 million for the Long Range Standoff Weapon, which will enable the B-21 to provide even better conventional and nuclear deterrence in a contested environment.
  • Includes $5.25 million in funding to complete the construction of the National Guard Readiness Center in Sioux Falls.

You can read more about the FY24 NDAA and a full list of my provisions in the bill here. I also joined Dakota News Now to talk more about the Congressional Charter for NAIV, which you can watch below:

DNN NAIV Thumbnail

Hearings: I attended two hearings in the Select Committee on Intelligence this past week. As always, both of these were classified.  

Legislation passed: As I mentioned last week, I introduced legislation with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to provide backpay to military officers whose promotions were delayed in the Senate. I’m happy to report that this bill unanimously passed the Senate and is now heading to the House of Representatives. The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America should not be negatively impacted by political squabbles. You can read more about this legislation and read a full list of cosponsors here.

Headline of the week: Senator Mike Rounds drives major investments and upgrades for Ellsworth Air Force Base in National Defense Authorization Act – KOTA

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Alpena, Cottonwood, Fort Pierre, Garretson, Mitchell, Rapid City, Watertown and Wessington Springs.

Steps taken this past week: 48,578 steps or 24.29 miles.

Photo of the week: This week, we said goodbye to our last D.C. intern for the fall semester. We were lucky to have Amelia and Noah with us in Washington for the past few months. Amelia just finished up her last final on Thursday and headed home to spend the holidays with her family. Noah is originally from Presho and attended Dakota State University. Hope to see you at Hutch’s Café soon over a hot beef!

Noah and Amelia