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Weekly Round[s] Up: November 6-12, 2023

Welcome back to another edition of the Weekly Round[s] Up! As you all know, Veterans Day was this past weekend, a day set aside to honor the brave men and women who have defended our nation. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of our veterans in South Dakota and across the country. It is because of your sacrifice that we are able to enjoy our freedoms in the greatest nation in the world – not just on Veterans Day, but every day of the year. We owe you a debt we can never repay.

As we look to the week ahead, we have a November 17 deadline to fund the government through either appropriation bills or a continuing resolution that would grant us another short-term extension. We continue to meet with South Dakotans, attend hearings and briefings and vote on the Senate floor. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:

South Dakotans I visited with: Leaders from South Dakota’s rural telecommunications companies, including Midstate Communications, West River Cooperative, Alliance, SDN Communications and Golden West; and Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere. I also had the honor of speaking at Aberdeen Central High School’s annual Veterans Day program this past Friday.

Meetings this past week: Ned Finkle, Vice President of External Affairs at NVIDIA; Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States; Ivan Giraud, CEO of Bel Brands; and Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle Corporation. I also spoke about AI at a dinner hosted by CNBC.

This past week, I also hosted two more AI insight forums. One forum was on elections & democracy, where we heard from panelists ranging from election officials to representatives from organizations such as Meta/Facebook and Google. The second forum was on privacy and liability, where we spoke with legal experts and scholars on data privacy and accountability in the use of AI. We appreciate all of the panelists who have come to the Senate to talk through the many aspects we need to consider as we look to the future of AI regulation and legislation.

We had our Senate Prayer Breakfast this week, where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was our speaker. Senator Gillibrand and I were co-chairs of the National Prayer Breakfast in 2022. Earlier this year, we did an interview with Fox News to talk more about Senate Prayer Breakfast, which you can watch here

Met with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Belle Fourche, Bison, Garretson, Kimball, Sioux Falls, Wall and Winner.

Headline of the week: How Sen. Mike Rounds wants to reimagine the VA, future of veterans in America: A Q&A – Argus Leader

Votes taken: 16 – Almost all of these were confirmation votes on judges and executive branch positions within the Department of Health and Human Services and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. One vote was on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) introduced by my colleague Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to overturn a Biden administration rule that would waive “Buy America” requirements for electric vehicle manufacturers. Allowing this waiver to go through means more of our taxpayer dollars would be sent to China to support the President’s woke electric vehicle agenda. I voted to overturn this waiver: if the President wants to spend Americans’ hard-earned money on electric vehicle chargers, he can spend it here in America.

Hearings: I attended one committee hearing this week in the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Classified Briefings: I attended three classified briefings this past week. One was related to my work on the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee. The other was related to my work on the Senate Banking Committee. I also had a closed briefing with Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog related to the war in Israel and Gaza.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Britton, Brookings, Deadwood, Highmore, Kennebec, Pierre, Sioux Falls, Sisseton, Spearfish, Sturgis and Wall.

Steps taken this past week: 56,109 steps or 27.63 miles

Video of the week: As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, I have the opportunity to help our veterans receive recognition for medals they earned during their service but never received. I sent out this video over the weekend, but even if you’ve already seen it, it’s worth watching again. The video showcases the stories of two veterans who received their earned medals this fall:


If you or a loved one are a veteran experiencing trouble working with the VA or with receiving a long overdue service medal, please contact one of my offices. We would be honored to help.