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Weekly Round[s] Up: November 28-December 4, 2022

We’re back with another Weekly Round[s] Up as we prepare for the last few weeks before Christmas. Congress is currently in the lame-duck session, a nickname for the period of time between the election and the swearing in of new members of Congress. Before the end of the year, Congress needs to fund the government and pass our annual National Defense bill. This past week, we passed legislation preventing the railroad strike in the United States. I was also able to participate in the unveiling of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber this past weekend. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:

South Dakota groups I visited with: Michael Pauley, Executive Director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference; and students and advisors from South Dakota’s Jobs for America’s Graduates.

Other meetings this week: Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers; Col. Mark Himes of the Army Corps of Engineers; Dr. Michael Sulmeyer, the U.S. Army’s principal cyber adviser; Lt. Gen. Maria Barrett, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Cyber Command; Jay Debertin, CEO of CHS; Kathy Warden, CEO of Northrop Grumman; Motaz Zahran, Egypt’s Ambassador to the United States; Alfred Kelly, CEO of Visa; Ed Tilly, CEO of Cboe; Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair of Microsoft; Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force; Admiral John C. Aquilino, commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command; and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

We also had our weekly Senate Bible Study (Our verse of the week was Ephesians 4:1-3) and our Senate Prayer Breakfast (Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith from Mississippi was our speaker).

Last but not least, I had the opportunity to attend the unveiling of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber this weekend in Palmdale, California. This new stealth bomber will have its first two squadrons stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in the Black Hills, bringing hundreds of new personnel and new growth to the area over the next several years. It will also bolster our national security by strengthening our nuclear triad. While I was in California, I also participated in the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I spoke on a panel titled “Defending Freedom: Great Power Conflict and Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific.”

Met with South Dakotans from: Martin, Pierre, Presho, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Wagner.

Topics discussed: The potential rail strike, the unveiling of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber and artificial intelligence’s current and future role in our national security.

Votes taken: 15 – Most noteworthy was the vote to avert a rail strike. I voted yes because of the negative impact a rail strike would have on our nation’s economy, specifically farmers and ranchers in South Dakota.

Hearings: I attended a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on Native American veterans and their access to VA healthcare and benefits. 

Classified briefings: I had a briefing with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); a Strategic Forces Subcommittee briefing on Electronic Warfare; and a Air Force briefing.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Brookings, Canova, Carthage, Deadwood, Howard, Lemmon, New Underwood and Watertown. 

Steps taken this week: 52,075 steps or 23.8 miles 

Video of the week: NewsCenter1, Western South Dakota’s NBC’s TV station, was in California covering the B-21 unveiling. NewsCenter1 hosted their nightly news broadcast at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. I was able to join their program, which included the base commander as well as the mayors of both Rapid City and Box Elder: