Sen. John Thune
Representing the state of South Dakota in the U.S. Senate is one of the greatest honors of my life, but it wouldn't mean anything without you: the dedicated and hardworking people who call South Dakota home.
Before it became law, Republicans in Congress warned of the damage the so-called Affordable Care Act would cause and the burdens the American people would face as a result. Five and a half years later, Obamacare — as it became known — has chipped away at family budgets, squeezed small business growth, and led to fewer choices for patients and their doctors.
If you asked someone to name their favorite time of year, you might hear Christmas, Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July. Don't be surprised, though, if you posed the same question to a South Dakotan and they tell you it's the third weekend in October — the traditional opening of pheasant season.
Recently, the Senate took up a common-sense bill to protect human life, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill would protect unborn children who have reached the age of 20 weeks — the age at which unborn children can feel pain — from being killed by abortion. Unfortunately, this bill was defeated in the Senate after just three Democrats joined Republicans in voting for this legislation. It's difficult for me to imagine how anyone could oppose this bill. Twenty weeks (about five months) into a pregnancy, the humanity of unborn babies is clearly visible.
South Dakotans frequently share with me their frustrations and concerns with Washington's overreach into Americans' lives. Despite the progress the new Senate Republican majority has made on many issues that impact hard-working families and small businesses across the country, the fact remains that Washington continues to be plagued by the failed leadership of the Barack Obama administration. Every September, we mark an anniversary that has become symbolic of the administration's obstructionism: the filing of the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
It is that special time of year again when families of all ages from every corner of the state can enjoy the sights and sounds of our state and county fairs. From Turner County to Brown County to the South Dakota State Fair in Huron and everywhere in between, there are multiple opportunities for families to make new memories, continue old traditions and reconnect with friends and family. While the food, rides and concerts are certainly the highlight for many fairgoers, there is more to these local celebrations than cotton candy and tilt-a-whirls.
When Republicans campaigned for the Senate majority in 2014, we made a simple, yet important pledge to the American people: If you elect Republicans to the majority, we will get...
There has been a lot of recent coverage in the news about the Iran nuclear agreement. For many South Dakotans, this agreement may seem far away. However, the danger this agreement addresses — that of a nuclear-armed Iran — is not only a threat to our allies, including Israel, but also to the United States.
With all the Senate has accomplished this year, it is hard to believe that we are just six months into the Republican majority. The Senate has passed nearly 50 bipartisan bills since January, and we are on pace to pass many more. We have made bipartisanship a cornerstone of the GOP-led Senate because when the two parties work together, the American people win. With a new majority came a fresh set of leaders at the numerous Senate committees, which is where the important groundwork is laid before legislation comes to the Senate floor.
I strongly believe in the outdoor heritage that makes South Dakota such an amazing place to live, work and raise a family. Whether it's earning a living off of the land, like so many of our hard-working farmers and ranchers, or enjoying a weekend pheasant hunt with friends and family, South Dakotans take seriously their responsibility to help protect the outdoors. While certain protections are necessary to ensure these resources are available for future generations, there are limits to the federal government's role.