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Weekly Round[s] Up: March 20-26, 2023

Although it doesn’t feel like it back home in South Dakota, the first day of spring was last Monday, March 20. This past week in Washington was the peak bloom of the iconic cherry blossom trees. They’re located throughout the city, but the best of them are right along the Tidal Basin that’s home to the Jefferson Memorial. While I spend most of my time indoors, I hear plenty about them from the South Dakotans who visit my office. The jury’s still out on whether they came to meet with us or see the cherry blossoms! I also introduced two South Dakotans as panelists at a roundtable in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. That and more, all in my Weekly Round[s] Up:

South Dakota groups I visited with: Members of the South Dakota Bankers Association; students from Lemmon High School; Daniel Scholl, SDSU’s VP of Research and Economic Development; and South Dakota’s Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden.

Meetings this past week: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin; Col. John Lloyd with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; a group of Northwestern Mutual financial advisors; Gen. Laura J. Richardson, Commander of U.S. Southern Command; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme; Mark Baker, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Ron Keohane, Nominee for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower & Reserve Affairs; and David Solomon, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs.

We also had our weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, where we heard from Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire.

Met with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Belle Fourche, Brookings, Eagle Butte, Lemmon, Pierre, Platte, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Union Center, White River and Yankton.

Topics discussed: The U.S.’s strategy on China, the importance of local banks in South Dakota and Native priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill.

Legislation introduced: I introduced the Tribal Firearm Access Act, legislation that would clarify that tribal governments are eligible entities to issue identification documents for the purposes of obtaining a firearm. Under current federal law, tribal members are unable to use their tribal identification documents, which often is their only form of identification, to purchase a firearm. The Tribal Firearm Access Act fixes this problem, allowing tribal members to exercise their Second Amendment rights. You can read more about it here.

Votes taken: 7 – A number of these were in relation to the repeal of the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq.

Hearings: I had three hearings this week. I attended a hearing in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs where we had the honor of hosting a couple of South Dakotans. Kelsey Scott from Eagle Butte and Dustin Schmidt from White River both spoke on our committee’s roundtable discussion titled, “Native Priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill Reauthorization.” You can watch a clip of that hearing here.

I also had a hearing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and one in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Classified briefings: I had one classified briefing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Brandon, Brookings, Geddes, Onida and Wall. We also had two members of our South Dakota team visiting DC this week. They attended a conference in the Capitol with other Constituent Service Representatives to learn more about helping South Dakotans work through issues with the federal government. 

A large part of the work that gets done by my team in the state is casework. If you or a family member need assistance with one of the USDA programs, the Social Security Administration, Indian Health Service, obtaining your VA benefits or help navigating another federal agency, please reach out to one of my four offices. Contact information can be found on my website by clicking here. My team and I are here to help. 

Steps taken this week: 54,674 steps or 25.18 miles.