U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, delivered this week’s Republican address to the nation. Thune taped the address in Sioux Falls, S.D., and highlighted the growing list of accomplishments the Senate Republican majority has been able to achieve on behalf of the American people.
Earlier this week, Thune penned an op-ed in which he outlined some of his recent Senate accomplishments that have benefited South Dakota, including multiple Commerce Committee bills that have cleared the committee and several that have passed the full Senate.
A full transcript of the address follows:
“Hi, I’m Senator John Thune from the great state of South Dakota.
“When Republicans were campaigning last fall, we made a promise to the American people: If we were elected to the majority, we would get Washington working again.
“That wasn’t a campaign slogan.
“That was a commitment.
“And we’ve been working hard to deliver on that promise ever since.
“The first eight months of 2015 have been some of the most productive in recent memory.
“In the Senate, we’ve built a track record of success, with bill after bill to deliver real results for the American people.
“One thing we were determined to do this year was pass a balanced budget.
“It’s hard to believe, but the last time the House and Senate passed a joint balanced budget resolution, Facebook hadn’t been created yet.
“That was something Republicans were determined to change.
“Every American family has to balance its budget, and Americans have a right to expect that the federal government will do the same.
“This spring, we passed the first House and Senate balanced budget resolution since 2001 – and we did it without raising taxes.
“In addition to a balanced budget, another Republican priority is expanding opportunities for American workers.
“The Obama administration has presided over the worst economic recovery in 70 years.
“As a result, too many hardworking families are stuck living paycheck to paycheck, with few chances for advancement and little access to better-paying jobs.
“That’s not the way it should be in America.
“In June, the House and Senate passed a trade bill that will support the creation of more good-paying jobs for American workers and help American farmers, ranchers, and small businesses sell their products and services around the globe.
“The transportation bill the Senate passed last month would also help American workers by providing funding for important construction projects that would support tens of thousands of jobs.
“The economy in my home state of South Dakota, where I am today, depends heavily on a strong, efficient transportation system, and the bill we passed would give states and local governments the resources they need to improve our nation’s highways, roads, and bridges.
“Another important bill the Senate took up in July was the Every Child Achieves Act, a major education reform bill that would help get Washington bureaucrats out of the way of our children’s education.
“This legislation would end burdensome federal mandates that have resulted in problems like ‘teaching to the test’ and restore control of education to those who know students best – like parents, teachers, and local school boards.
“Still another Republican priority is protecting Social Security and Medicare for our nation’s seniors, and in April we passed the first real entitlement reform in over a decade.
“The bill we passed extends Medicare’s solvency, protects seniors’ access to care, and provides significant savings to taxpayers over the long term.
“We also took action this year to provide increased mental health resources to our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country.
“Finally, Republicans remain committed to the safety and security of our nation.
“Earlier this year, the Republican-led Congress passed legislation to ensure that the American people, through their elected representatives, would have a voice in any nuclear agreement with Iran.
“The importance of this legislation became apparent last month when the Obama administration agreed to a deeply flawed deal with Iran that will bolster Iran’s ability to support terrorist activities, increase its access to conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, and advance its nuclear research and development.
“Without the legislation we passed earlier this year, there would be no chance for the American people to weigh in on one of the most important national security issues facing our country.
“Eight months into the Republican-led Congress, we’ve changed the way Washington operates.
“We’ve brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve the challenges facing American families, and we’ve been able to put forward real solutions as a result.
“In all, we‘ve passed more than 80 bills to grow our economy, protect our nation’s citizens, strengthen our security, and reform government.
“And we’re just getting started.
“We’ve accomplished a lot over the past eight months, but we know we have a lot more work to do, and we have a president who is fighting us every step of the way.
“As the 114th Congress continues, we’re going to keep fighting for Americans’ priorities in Washington and working to give the American people the efficient, effective, and accountable government they deserve.”