Senator John ThuneThis past week, I received my committee assignments for the 112th session of Congress (2011-2012). In addition to remaining on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I will also be serving on the Finance Committee and the Budget Committee. With our state and nation facing great challenges, I believe these four committees will provide me with an expanded opportunity to work toward meaningful solutions.
With the 2008 Farm Bill set to expire at the end of next year, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee will soon begin drafting the 2012 Farm Bill. Similar to the drafting of our current Farm Bill, I look forward to having a pivotal role in the crafting our nation's farm policies. Continuing to serve on the Agriculture Committee will enable me to have a seat at the table during the negotiations of one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting farmers and ranchers across South Dakota.
In a time of unparalleled government spending, it has never been more important to have strong, fiscally conservative voices on the Budget Committee. With our national debt over $14 trillion and climbing, we simply cannot continue down this path of unchecked spending and borrowing. As a member of the Budget Committee, I will have a role in working toward keeping Washington's spending under control. I believe it is high time that the federal government adheres to a budget the way the hardworking people across South Dakota follow their budgets. Last year I introduced a budget and spending reform bill and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to find ways to fundamentally improve the current budget process.
I am pleased to remain on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee so that I can continue to work on important issues facing our state including rural telecommunications, highway safety and other transportation issues, and interstate commerce. Specifically, as the Senate continues to debate broadband policies, including the Federal Communication Commission's controversial network neutrality proposal, I will continue to be a vocal advocate for rural states like South Dakota.
Lastly, I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the Finance Committee because it is one of the most active committees in the Senate. The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over all items that involve taxation. Joining this committee will give me a platform to continue fighting for lower taxes and more streamlined tax policies. Additionally, as the finer points of the health care bill are debated, I will be at the table working to lower health care costs for people across our state and the country.