Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today filed three separate amendments to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill that would fund projects in South Dakota.

The first amendment would make available up to $500,000 for the Wagner Service Unit (WSU) Emergency Room for fiscal year 2007, pending implementation of a business plan that contains an evaluation of the prospect of collaboration between the VA and the IHS at the Wagner facility. This proposed collaboration would be in keeping with the ideals set out in a 2003 memorandum of understanding between the Veterans Health Administration and the IHS. The Indian Health Service's plan calls for shifting WSU emergency room service from a 24-7 operation to a 7AM to 11PM Monday through Saturday operation.

"I support keeping the current level of operations at the Wagner Service Unit emergency room because it provides vital services to the community," said Senator Thune. "That is why I have been aggressively exploring ways to prevent the reduction in emergency room hours."

Senator Thune offered two other amendments that would make improvements to Ellsworth Air Force Base. One would add funding for the Air Force Financial Management Center by another $750,000. This is in addition to the $4.3 million for the Financial Services Center that Senator Thune successfully inserted into the Department of Defense fiscal year 2007 Appropriations bill already signed into law by the President. Thune announced in April that Ellsworth was awarded this highly sought-after mission that will create hundreds of additional military and civilian jobs at Ellsworth. The other amendment would add $1.5 million for base security improvements at Ellsworth.

"It is important that we continue to invest in Ellsworth to provide our men and women in uniform with a premiere military base that is highly suited for future missions," said Thune.