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Weekly Round[s] Up: December 4-10, 2023

Another week has come and gone in Washington, DC. We’re still working on passing the National Defense Authorization Act and a National Security supplemental with aid to Israel and Ukraine and policy changes at our southern border. More on that later. As always, we had a few South Dakotans in the office, along with visitors from other parts of the country. I hosted the last artificial intelligence (AI) insight forums with my bipartisan AI working group, and I attended hearings and classified briefings. We’re ready for another big week to wrap up key legislation before the end of the year. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:   

South Dakotans I visited with: J. Garret Renville, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Chairman; Ryman LeBeau, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman; and Brian Bird, CEO and President of Northwestern Energy.

Meetings this past week: Dr. Paul Richanbach, Institute for Defense Analyses; Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup; Major General Johnny Davis, Commanding General of United States Army Recruiting Command and Fort Knox; Robin Vince, CEO of BNY Mellon; and Ronald O’Hanley, CEO of State Street. I attended a dinner at the Library of Congress where we heard from George Will.

I also hosted the last two AI insight forums this past week. One was on doomsday scenarios, where we focused on mitigating risks of AI with leaders from OpenAI, Anthropic, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute and more. The second forum centered on national security, looking at how we can use AI and its development in the defense of our country. We heard from Palantir CEO Alex Karp, Scale AI CEO Alex Wang, Microsoft VP Bill Chappell, Booz Allen Hamilton CEO Horacio Rozanski and many more.

This past week, I hosted my colleagues for our Senate Bible Study in my office. We studied Psalm 1:1-2.

Votes taken: 7 – Many of these were on nominations to positions in the judicial branch and the Department of State. As I mentioned, I took one vote on the legislative vehicle for a supplemental appropriations bill that would provide funding to Ukraine and Israel. I ultimately voted to delay this funding until the package includes meaningful policy changes at our southern border. I am hopeful that discussions will continue and that we can come to an agreement that supports Israel and Ukraine AND secures our southern border.

Hearings: I attended one hearing in the Senate Banking committee. This past week, we heard from CEOs of several large banks: Charles Scharf of Wells Fargo, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Jane Fraser of Citigroup, Ronald O’Hanley of State Street, Robin Vince of BNY Mellon, David Solomon of Goldman Sachs and James Gorman of Morgan Stanley. I took the opportunity to ask them about overregulation and its impact on consumers, including farm and ranch families in South Dakota. You can watch my full exchange here.

Classified briefings: I had one classified briefing on the National Security supplemental bill.

Legislation introduced: I introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Jon Tester of Montana to suspend beef imports from Paraguay. You can read more about it, along with the full text of the bill, here.

South Dakota ranch families work tirelessly to produce the safest, highest quality and most affordable beef in the world. Paraguay has historically struggled to contain outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has prioritized diplomatic initiatives in the region over the interests of American cattle producers. This poses a significant threat to not only our producers, but our consumers as well. Consumers should be able to confidently feed their families beef that has met the rigorous standards required in the United States.

This past week, I also introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Joe Manchin (D- WV) to provide back pay for military officers whose promotions were delayed in the Senate. The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America should not be negatively impacted by political squabbles. I disagree with the Department of Defense’s policy of paying the travel expenses for service members and their dependents seeking abortions. I also support a member of the Senate’s right to hold any nomination; however, our men and women in uniform should not be caught in the middle of partisan politics. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation to do the right thing and provide military officers and their families with the benefits they have earned for their decades of service and sacrifice.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Hill City, Hot Springs, Huron, Gettysburg, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Webster.

Steps taken this past week: 56,414 steps or 27.81 miles.

Photo of the week:

AI Insight Forum 12/6/2023

Photo from our second AI insight forum on national security this past week.