US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Getting Washington Working Again For the American People

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressGetting Washington Working Again For the American People

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 the Senate, which has been dysfunctional for years, working again. That was not a half-hearted campaign slogan; it was a commitment on which we intended to deliver.

For far too long, the legislative process was nearly nonexistent in the Democrat-run Senate. Democrats were more focused on saving their own jobs than enacting policies that would help create good-paying jobs for hard-working Americans. The Senate floor transformed into a campaign hall, and basic legislative functions often took a back seat to political show votes that were intended to create fodder for 30-second campaign ads rather than solve key problems facing people across the country. Last year, the American people opted for a new direction, and seven months into the new Republican majority, I am happy to report that we have made significant progress.

It is halftime in the first session of this Congress, and Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have put some important points on the board on behalf of the American people. Most importantly, we have returned the Senate to what our Founders intended it to be: a place for open and honest debate, where committees are able to work and senators on both sides of the aisle are able to participate. With a divided government, I believe that the legislative outcome is better when members of both parties are part of the process.

Since reopening the Senate, we have passed more than 80 bills to help improve our economy, reform our government, protect some of the most vulnerable among us, and strengthen our national security. We passed a joint balanced budget resolution, the first since 2001, and did not raise a single dime in taxes during the process. We also passed legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, strengthen our efforts to eradicate human trafficking in this country, provide a check on the Obama administration’s flawed Iran nuclear agreement, and long-overdue trade legislation to help expand access to American-made goods overseas. Additionally, we passed the first long-term bill to strengthen Medicare in over a decade – ensuring South Dakota seniors have access to the physicians they prefer – and an education reform bill that transfers power from Washington bureaucrats back to parents, teachers, and local school boards.

More than 200 bills have been reported out of our various committees, including 36 that were reported out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which I chair. In particular, the Commerce Committee and full Senate passed my bipartisan legislation to reform the Surface Transportation Board and help ensure the rail backlog, which hurt South Dakota’s economy in 2013 and 2014, does not happen again. Also, just a few weeks ago, the Senate passed a long-term highway bill that is critical to South Dakota’s economy. This legislation not only passed with 65 votes, but includes a host of legislative priorities that I worked to include, such as provisions that will strengthen rail and highway safety, while cutting regulatory red tape for agriculture producers who rely on a national transportation system to get their goods to market.

On Saturday, I delivered the weekly Republican address to the nation and shared this important progress with all Americans. While we have accomplished a lot so far, there is much more work to be done during the second half of this session of Congress, and I will continue to fight for South Dakota’s priorities and the priorities of the American people.


12 thoughts on “US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Getting Washington Working Again For the American People”

  1. The only thing congress has achieved is purely for itself. Very poor record. No better than if democrats were in charge. Very weak and the American people are rewarding Trump for it.

    1. “no better than if democrats were in charge.” that is patently false in all respects, so we have to presume one of two things – that you really believe that fully, against all evidence to the contrary; OR that a failure to hit 100 percent of your ideal congress-vision constitutes a total failure, again not supported by any logic known to mankind. *sigh* i guess we just have to add the disclaimer “in my humble opinion” ourselves in the appropriate place when we read your post.

      1. and of course i realize the third possibility – that you’re a democrat and simply don’t like anything the republicans do. if so, then you should say that the republican actions were much worse than when democrats were in charge, if that’s what you think.

  2. It sounds good but the things that the American voters elected Republicans to do have not been done, and the leaders have capitulated to the Democrats (for fear of a govt shutdown and being blamed for it) on Obamacare funding, Planned Parenthood funding, the Iran deal (Yeah, they can look at the deal and vote it up or down, but it is essentially meaningless as sanctions are gone and the money goes to Iran anyway), EPA regulatory authority over waters and many other things. It seems to me that the GOP is afraid of the Dems, and the Dems are loving it! That is why Trump is so refreshing.

  3. Springer,

    Here is when our Government has been shut down during the presidencies of:

    Clinton (twice)
    Obama (an attempt to defund Obamacare)

    You will note that Ronald Reagan didn’t do it despite the Congress telling him his budget was dead on arrival and sent him comprehensive continuing resolutions. Why didn’t Reagan do it? He didn’t believe that was good government.

    Reagan in his own words: Start listening around 4:30.

    I guess I’m a Reagan Republican. You must not be.

  4. I never said that it was good, bad, or indifferent. I did say that the GOP is scared to do much of the important stuff to stop Obama because then the Dems shout “if you do that we will shut down the govt.” Notice I said it would really be the Dems shutting it down, but they with the media’s cooperation always spin it so that the blame likes at the feet of the GOP. if the GOP had a stronger backbone, maybe they could stand up to these threats and maybe stop Obama’s unconstitutional acts. And even if the govt were to shut down, it never amounts to the Armageddon that is forecast; the important stuff continues being funded and the extraneous maybe really is extraneous to some degree.

  5. The GOP “leadership” in Washington, DC are cowards, and the American people are realizing it.

  6. i don’t think they’re cowards – i think they’re truly truly confused by an electorate that elected obama not once but twice in spite of clear evidence each time of what bad things could come of it. the republicans are still trying to understand why that choice was made and what it means. many unclear things are still going to happen while they work through all of that. i hope they can dial it all in, as the nascar kids say.

  7. There isn’t any confusion in the Congress–McConnell cut a deal giving Kentucky $3 billion in a debt ceiling increase fight to rein in the budget!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!


  8. I’d love to see a South Dakota “Trump” run against Thine in the primary. John is Mitch McConnel’s water boy.

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