Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune today discussed South Dakota's funding priorities with White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Josh Bolten. As OMB Director, Bolten is responsible for crafting the President's annual budget requests, which will be officially sent to Congress in February 2006.

"Senator Johnson and I took this opportunity to inform OMB Director Bolten of South Dakota's priorities," Thune said. "Our discussion today was a way to communicate directly to the Administration about the needs of South Dakota's families, farmers, schools, and businesses. At the top of our priority list was full funding for the Lewis and Clark project, which is long overdue. Once completed, Lewis and Clark will provide a steady supply of clean and reliable drinking water to thousands of South Dakotans. Director Bolten now has firsthand knowledge of South Dakota's funding needs to keep our state safe, strong and prosperous. It is important that we fund our priorities while we work to eliminate wasteful government spending."

"Budgets are about priorities. Senator Thune and I wanted an opportunity to discuss the needs and priorities of South Dakota with the Administration as they are preparing the budget for next year, and the Administration's rural water budget is in critical need of additional funding. Projects such as Lewis and Clark represent an economic development engine for the Sioux Falls region that will create a ripple effect across the state. Safe, reliable drinking water is necessary for the continued health and economic growth of our state," Johnson said.

Among different projects discussed, Senators Johnson and Thune stressed the following:

  • Funding for the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System. South Dakota faces water problems, including shallow wells, aquifers prone to contamination, compliance with federal drinking water standards, and increasing water demand due to population growth and economic expansion. Once completed, Lewis and Clark will join the list of other rural water projects providing safe, reliable drinking water in a more effective and cost-efficient manner than each community could accomplish alone.

  • Funding for the Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Place, which will include funding for the Sioux Nation Cultural Center and the Sioux Nation Supreme Court. The Sioux Nation Cultural Center will exhibit and interpret tribal history and cultural artifacts expanding tourism in central South Dakota. The Sioux Nation Supreme Court will enhance the tribal judicial system and promote economic development and reconciliation between Indians and non-Indians.