Weekly Round[s] Up: October 30-November 5, 2023
It was another busy week out in Washington. We got to work and passed three of our 12 appropriation bills through the Senate. Each of the 12 bills covers a different subject area that corresponds with a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and this past week, we passed the bills covering Agriculture, Military Construction/VA, and Transportation/Housing & Urban Development. While that’s only 25 percent of the job, and there’s still more work to be done, we’re closer to funding the government beyond November 17 than we were the week before. In between working on the appropriation bills, we’ve been busy taking meetings, hosting more artificial intelligence (AI) forums and attending hearings. We’re ready for another busy week! Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:
South Dakotans I visited with: This past week, I had the opportunity to welcome 176 of our newest American citizens at a naturalization ceremony held in Fort Pierre. It was an honor to be one of the first to congratulate them on becoming a citizen of the United States of America.
Meetings this past week: Charles Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo; Charlie Cook, political analyst and author; and Chris Waller, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. We also had our Senate Bible Study. Our verse this week was Proverbs 22:6.
I hosted two more AI insight forums this past week with my bipartisan AI working group, which I lead with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.). The first forum of the week focused on the intersection of AI and the workforce. Most notably, Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, President of Dakota State University, joined us to talk about AI’s impact on our universities and the cyber industry. You can read more about this forum and view a full list of panelists here.
Our second forum of the week focused on “high impact” areas, with panelists from industries most affected by the increasing presence of AI. This included leaders from AI development companies, financial institutions and academia. We’re appreciative of everyone who takes the time to come and visit with us as we look to the future of AI and how it impacts every aspect of our lives.
This past week, I also went to the White House with the AI working group to meet with President Biden about his AI Executive Order issued on October 30. While I appreciate the president’s initiative in taking action on AI, the executive order is overly broad and could stifle AI innovation. For America to compete with China and our global adversaries, we need to make it easier to build businesses here, not harder. AI should not be a partisan issue. There is an opportunity for Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion to create policies and invest in America’s future in a way that will make AI work for all Americans, help advance scientific progress and strengthen our global stature.
Headline of the week: South Dakota beef industry sees potential in small, local meat plants – South Dakota News Watch
Letter to IHS: This past week, I led the South Dakota and North Dakota congressional delegations in sending a letter to Indian Health Service (IHS) Director Roselyn Tso urging IHS to expand access to outside health care services in both states. Specifically, we asked them to complete a feasibility study on implementing a Purchased and Referred Care Delivery Area to all counties in both states. You can read more about this and read the full letter here.
Votes taken: 19 – several of these were on amendments to our appropriation bills, which I mentioned in last week’s Round[s] Up. We also voted on a few nominees to executive positions within the Department of Defense, including Gen. David Allvin to be Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.
Hearings: I attended two hearings this week – one was in the Select Committee on Intelligence. The other was in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. We held a hearing on financial protections for veterans and service members, and I had the opportunity to give an opening statement while serving as ranking member. You can watch a clip of that here.
My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Brookings, Carter, Deadwood, Lead and Pukwana.
Steps taken this past week: 62,302 steps or 30.88 miles
Photo of the week:
Speaking at the naturalization ceremony in Fort Pierre this past week.