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Weekly Round[s] Up: February 13-19, 2023

Welcome back for another Weekly Round[s] Up! This past week, we spent quite a bit of time voting on the Senate floor and attending classified briefings on a variety of subjects related to our national security. We also had several South Dakotans visit the office, escaping the wintery weather for a couple of sunny days in DC with highs in the 60s and 70s! This time of year, we like the nice weather there, but a cold, snowy day in South Dakota beats a warm one in Washington every time. Regardless, no matter how we feel about DC, there’s always work to be done. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:

South Dakota groups I visited with: Members of the South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA) and members of the South Dakota YMCA Alliance from across the state.

Meetings this past week: Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve; Jim Nelson, President of Aerostar; Lieutenant General Bryan Fenton, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM); and Joshua Jacobs, Nominee for the Veterans’ Affairs Under Secretary of Benefits. I spoke at the Reinsurance Association of America board meeting. We also continued our bipartisan discussions on social security reform. Senator John Thune and I also had an opportunity to meet with Governor Kristi Noem when she was in DC this past week.

We also had our weekly Senate Bible Study (1 Corinthians 4:1 was our verse of the week) and our Senate Prayer Breakfast (Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois was our speaker).

Met with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Madison, Mitchell, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Winner.

Topics discussed: Foreign objects flying through U.S. airspace (I have a feeling we’ll be discussing this for a while), health care needs in South Dakota and SDSU’s FCS National Championship.

Votes taken: 16 – the Senate Democrats were off to a slow start this year, but the votes are now starting to pick up. All of these were on nominees to positions within the executive and judicial branches.

Hearings: I attended two hearings this week: one with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one with the Senate Armed Services Committee on global security challenges and strategy.

Classified briefings: I had four classified briefings this week: two on China and objects being shot down over US airspace, one with the Senate Armed Services Committee on space policy and one on spectrum.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Rapid City and Sioux Falls. I also had three staff members from my Rapid City office and one from my Sioux Falls office working out of our Washington office this week. It’s always great to have more South Dakotans in DC.

Steps taken this week: 40,232 steps or 18.63 miles.

Photo of the Week: Senator Kevin Cramer and I finally settled up on our bet over the FCS National Championship, where the SDSU Jackrabbits came out on top over the NDSU Bison. We invited our two risk-averse Dakota Territory colleagues, Senator John Hoeven and Senator John Thune, and all of our staff members to feast on bison burgers and brats courtesy of Senator Cramer. I provided ice cream from the SDSU dairy bar to make our victory celebration extra sweet. KOTA TV had a nice feature on our friendly rivalry. You can watch the full clip here