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Weekly Round[s] Up: March 18-24, 2024

We had another whirlwind week in the United States Senate. The Senate managed to pass our final appropriations package funding the final six areas of the federal government for FY2024. We were in the Capitol late into the night on Friday, passing the final package just after 2 AM on Saturday morning. Our government funding work is finally over for this fiscal year, and we turn toward appropriations for FY2025, which are due on September 30 of this year. We also had many South Dakotans in our office this past week, along with hearings, classified briefings and votes. All that and more in this week’s Weekly Round[s] Up: 

South Dakotans I met with: Students from Mobridge Pollock High School, Bowdle High School and Lemmon High School; members of the South Dakota Bankers Association; and Bryce Dibbern with the South Dakota Livestock Marketing Association.

I went to Hot Springs last Monday to present Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins to 36 veterans living at the Veterans Home. I also spoke at the National Honor Society induction ceremony at T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre.

Visited with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Bowdle, Brookings, Burke, Hot Springs, Interior, Lemmon, Mobridge, Pierre, Redfield, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Troy and Yankton.

Other meetings: Tim Buckley, CEO of Vanguard. We had our Senate Bible Study, where Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was our speaker. I attended an artificial intelligence policy event where I and several other legislators spoke with members of the European Union parliament and leaders from across the AI field about opportunities and innovation in AI.

Votes taken: 21 – many of these were on amendments to the minibus appropriations bill. The rest were on nominations to judicial positions in Texas, California, Maryland and New Jersey, and one executive position at the Department of Labor. 

On Thursday, we also voted on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) that I led with Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to overturn a Biden administration decision to allow for beef imports from Paraguay. As you may recall, last November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that they were lifting a ban on beef imports from Paraguay, who have historically struggled to contain outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. In February, Senator Tester and I filed this CRA to overturn this decision. I am happy to report that our CRA passed the Senate 70-25, the highest number of affirmative votes on a CRA on record. You can read more about this vote here. The CRA must now pass the House, so stay tuned for more updates.

Legislation introduced: This past week, I introduced legislation with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to require the Farm Service Agency to make quarterly updates to Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) payment rates that reflect livestock market prices. You can read more about this legislation here.

Hearings: I attended two hearings this past week. One was in the Select Committee on Intelligence, which was closed as usual. The other was in the Senate Armed Services Committee, where we heard from Admiral John Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and General Paul LaCamera, Commander of United States Forces Korea.

Classified briefings: I attended two classified briefings this week. One was part of my work on the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee. The other was an all-Senators briefing with my colleagues on TikTok. 

As many of you may know, one of our hot topics these past couple of weeks on Capitol Hill has been TikTok, specifically the House’s bill to ‘ban’ the app from the United States. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. TikTok collects information on its users, including not only personal information like name and zip code, but algorithmic information like how Americans talk, act and think. Under Chinese law, any information and data that ByteDance has on its users must be made available to the Chinese government. I don’t think I need to tell you why this is bad news for our national security. The bill passed in the House of Representatives requires TikTok to divest from ByteDance in order to continue operating in the United States. All this to say, if you, your kids or your grandkids currently have TikTok, I suggest being very careful with the information you share on the app.

I talked more about TikTok on CNN This Morning this past Thursday. You can watch a clip of that here.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Brookings, Burke, Dupree, Eagle Butte, Gregory, Madison, McIntosh, Oacoma, Timber Lake, Sturgis, Wall and Wessington Springs.

Steps taken this past week: 53,826 steps or 26.71 miles

Video of the week: Earlier this month, I hosted an event to commemorate the National American Indian Veterans congressional charter. You can watch a video recap of the event here: 

NAIV Video Thumbnail