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Weekly Round[s] Up: March 27-April 2, 2023

After our marathon five weeks straight of in-session activity, I am finally back in South Dakota for more than a few days. We even got a snowstorm as a welcome home! We will spend the next two weeks working back home and meeting with South Dakotans. I enjoy seeing you all out in Washington, but it’s always better to be back in South Dakota. We finished strong and stayed busy this past week, with meetings about topics ranging from cybersecurity to the economy to Missouri River management, and five different hearings across four committees. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:

South Dakota groups I visited with: Students from the Rapid City Youth Council; South Dakota Biotech Association; and Brett Hanson, Northwestern Lumber Association.

Meetings this past week: Michael Barr, the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chair for Supervision; Col. Mark Himes, Commander of the Omaha District of the Army Corps of Engineers; Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command; Eman El-Sheikh, Head of the Center for Cybersecurity at the University of West Florida; Jared Bernstein, Nominee for the Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors; and Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, Commanding General of the Cyber Center of Excellence. I also attended meetings at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). We had our Senate Bible Study (Our verse of the week was 1 Kings 12:6, 8).

I spoke at the Coalition for a Prosperous America’s annual conference about the need for Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA, moderated our discussion.

After getting back to South Dakota, I also gave the keynote address at a Palm Sunday brunch in Rapid City hosted by Catholic Social Services.  

Met with South Dakotans from: Hereford, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Sisseton.

Topics discussed: Our nation’s cybersecurity practices, the importance of proper beef labeling for our South Dakota producers and spectrum auction authority.

Votes taken: 12 – one of these was on a joint resolution of disapproval of Biden’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule changes. This resolution would repeal the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which expands federal regulatory authority over waters and wetlands that should be left to the control of states and landowners. I supported this resolution. It now goes to the president’s desk for signature. We anticipate that he will veto this legislation, as it is repealing a rule put out by his administration. You can read more about WOTUS and the resolution here.

Hearings: I attended five hearings this week: I had two hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one hearing in the SASC Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, where I serve as ranking member.

I had one hearing in the Senate Banking Committee where we heard from officials with the FDIC, Federal Reserve and Treasury department about the recent Silicon Valley Bank collapse. You can watch a clip of that here.

Last but not least, I had one hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee. We heard from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley at a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee this past week, where I took the opportunity to ask them about DOD’s use of the lower band of spectrum. They both agreed that requiring DOD to relinquish portions of the 3.1 – 3.45 GHz band of spectrum should be off limits until after the joint DOD-NTIA study has been completed later this year. This timeline is important as it will give members of Congress and administration officials an opportunity to make an informed decision that will protect our national security. You can watch a clip of that hearing here.

Classified briefings: I had one classified briefing this week: our bi-weekly cyber education session. 

Upcoming events: This month, we are holding two Service Academy Days to give interested students and their families an opportunity to learn more about the U.S. service academies and the application process. Our Rapid City event is on Saturday, April 22nd and our Sioux Falls event is on Saturday, April 29th. You can read more about our Service Academy Days here.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Deadwood, Faith, Hill City, Hot Springs, Keystone, Murdo, Onida, Parker, Sioux Falls, Sturgis, Vermillion and Webster.

Steps taken this week: 59,970 steps or 27.88 miles.

Answers of the week: In last week’s Weekly Round[s] Up, I sent out a survey asking readers if they supported sending foreign aid and equipment to Ukraine as they defend against the Russian attack. We received thousands of responses. I agree with the majority of you that we must continue to support Ukraine. Providing support now will deter Russia and China from further, and even more costly, aggression in the future. The main objection I have heard from South Dakotans who oppose providing resources to Ukraine believe that our priority should be securing our southern border. I also believe we need to secure our southern border, and that this administration needs to do more to protect this country from mass illegal immigration, which includes alarming rates of both human and drug trafficking. Protecting our southern border and providing support to Ukraine, however, do not need to be mutually exclusive. Here are the results of last week’s poll: