Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senators Tim Johnson, John Thune and Representative Stephanie Herseth today discussed South Dakota's funding priorities with White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Rob Portman. Portman was sworn in as OMB Director in late May. As OMB Director, Portman is responsible for crafting the President's annual budget requests and oversees spending of federal agencies.

"With a new Budget Director at the White House, Senator Johnson, Representative Herseth and I wanted to meet firsthand with OMB Director Portman to inform him of South Dakota's priorities," Thune said. "This was an important opportunity 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 Portman 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."

"I'm glad the delegation was able to sit down with Director Portman this afternoon. This meeting builds on the momentum we were able to achieve with former OMB Director Bolten. This delegation is taking every opportunity possible to make sure South Dakota's voice is heard. When it comes to our water projects, a safe, reliable supply is crucial to economic development in our state. I will continue to work as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to bring home the needed funding, and will remain committed to investing in the public good," said Senator Johnson.

Congresswoman Herseth said, "Last year, the delegation began a successful dialogue with former OMB Director Josh Bolten. I am pleased to once again join with the Senators to make clear South Dakota's priorities to the new Director. These water projects represent critically important infrastructure for communities across South Dakota, and the delegation will continue to work together to ensure that this priority is recognized in the President's annual budget recommendations."

Among different projects discussed, the congressional delegation 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 construction, maintenance and operations of the Mni Wiconi rural water system to dramatically improve the quality and quantity of water for tens of thousands of residents in western South Dakota.