Weekly Round[s] Up: October 23-29, 2023
We’re back in Washington for another week of work in the United States Senate. Now that we’ve got a Speaker of the House, both the House and the Senate are in a lot better position to address some of the big issues that are facing America right now. We still have to pass a series of appropriation bills to keep the government open and funded past the November 17th deadline set by the continuing resolution. We’re currently making amendments to these appropriation bills on the Senate floor, and the House is doing the same on their side. As part of this, we also need to address aid to Israel and Ukraine, as well as securing our Southern border as a prerequisite. Because we have divided government – a Republican majority in the House, a Democrat majority in the Senate and a Democrat President – we have to work together in a bipartisan way to complete our appropriations process. I recognize that there’s a lot to get done here, and I’m ready to continue working to finish the job. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:
South Dakotans I visited with: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District’s Leadership Development Class.
Meetings this past week: Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State and current Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University; the Software and Information Industry Association; David Sampson, President and CEO of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association; National Association of Convenience Stores; Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States; Todd McCracken, President and CEO of the National Small Business Association; Kent Walker, President of Global Affairs at Google; Essa Kayd, Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Father Chris Kellerman, Director of Government Relations for the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States; Syracuse University’s AI Policy Symposium; Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense; Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor and Shalanda Young, Director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
I spoke at the Housing Assistance Council’s National Rural Housing Conference in a Fireside Chat with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.). As members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senator Smith and I have introduced legislation to improve rural housing programs, cut red tape and increase the accessibility of affordable housing in our state. Together, we have met with stakeholders and visited with constituents about the hurdles they are facing regarding homeownership. Our bill, the Rural Housing Service Reform Act, is the direct result of these visits and meetings. During this Fireside Chat, we discussed this important bill that would work to make homeownership a reality for more South Dakotans.
As you may remember, as a member of the bipartisan AI working group, I hosted the first AI Insight Forum last month with leaders from the tech industry, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Meta (Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and more. This past week, we hosted another forum with leaders from AI companies and venture capital groups, where we focused on opportunities for innovation and domestic growth within the industry.
It’s critical that the United States stays at the forefront of artificial intelligence development. The opportunity to utilize AI for innovations in the health care industry, including research on deadly diseases like cancer, will not only improve but extend the lives of Americans. These forums continue to be informative and helpful as the future of AI regulation and legislation begins to take shape.
Headline of the week: Sen. Rounds expresses support for Israel as Congress weighs aid options – Rapid City Journal
Votes taken: 10 – A few of these were on nominations, and a few of them were on amendments to our “minibus” appropriation bills. As we look to the November 17 deadline set by last month’s continuing resolution, we continue to work on getting these appropriation bills passed through the Senate.
Hearings: I attended one hearing in the Select Committee on Intelligence. Wish I could tell you more, but as usual, our hearing this week was closed.
Classified briefings: I had one classified briefing related to my work on the Select Committee on Intelligence.
My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Brookings, Carthage, Custer, Edgemont, Hill City, Hot Springs, Keystone, Lead, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Watertown.
Steps taken this past week: 58,449 steps or 29.01 miles
Photo of the Week:
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and I during our meeting this past week.