We’re a little more than halfway through the year, so I thought it would be worth reviewing some of the legislative proposals I’ve been pursuing since the beginning of this Congress, plus my work with the administration to help advance these and other initiatives that will benefit South Dakota and the rest of the United States.
South Dakota’s priorities are my priorities, and I believe that’s reflected in my work in the Senate, including in the committees on which I serve. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Commerce Committee, and Finance Committee, I’m uniquely positioned to give South Dakota’s issues the national attention they deserve.
While we’re only seven months into the new Congress, it’s been a busy one so far. I’ve already sponsored or cosponsored nearly 80 pieces of legislation, and I’ve cast more than 200 votes on the Senate floor, which doesn’t even include all of the bills and nominations I’ve voted on at the committee level.
One of those many floor votes includes my bipartisan legislation to tackle illegal and abusive robocalls, and it flew through the Senate with near-unanimous support. My bill, which was approved by a vote of 97 to 1, would not only increase the financial penalties involved with making illegal robocalls, but it would add more teeth to the law by giving law enforcement additional tools to hold these bad actors accountable – including the threat of jail time.
I’ve also led legislative efforts that would permanently repeal the death tax, make annual veteran cost of living adjustments automatic, incentivize healthy living, add certainty to today’s evolving “gig” economy, strengthen the agriculture economy, support the Second Amendment, encourage year-round charitable giving, further develop rural broadband technology, and help states with low unemployment rates like South Dakota address workforce shortages, among many other pieces of legislation.
In addition to these legislative efforts, I’ve worked with the administration on a number of issues (and have kept pressure on them when necessary, too). This work helped lead to Ellsworth Air Force Base being named as the first home for the future B-21 bomber; to ensuring the administration followed through on its commitment to allowing for the year-round sale of 15 percent ethanol-blended fuel – a boon to farmers and consumers; and to addressing the urgent needs of South Dakota’s agriculture community during this challenging planting season.
There are more ideas on the horizon, including finding ways to continue building on the strength of our booming economy, helping to further strengthen the agriculture economy, and creating even more opportunities for the American people, but I believe we’ve made good progress in the early months of this Congress.
I’d be interested in hearing from you, though, about how you think these initiatives line up with what’s important to you, your family, or your small business. Please always feel free to call, write, email, or even tweet me (@SenJohnThune) with your feedback. I look forward to hearing from you on these topics or any other ideas you might have.