Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Noem Weekly Column: This Independence Day

2015/06/26

How different the fourth of July must have been in 1776. Today, it’s a loud celebration with fireworks, parades, and excitement.  But I imagine a much quieter and reflective tone in 1776.  Yes, John Adams had written that in the future our independence “ought to be commemorated … with shows, games, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”  But we still had a war to win against the British.  And for the next seven years, we battled to secure our independence and protect our rights, among them “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

There have been so many times over the last few years that I’ve seen these liberties once again tested and strained by an intrusive federal government.  The President’s health care law, for instance, took control away from families and put our healthcare options - and our wallets - into the hands of bureaucrats.  The Environmental Protection Agency repeatedly seeks out new regulations that threaten to increase our electricity bills or erode our property rights, as a new “Waters of the U.S.” rule could do.  The government is telling our schools what ought to be put on lunch trays and targeting certain groups that speak out against an even bigger federal government.  It has to stop.

My focus each and every day is to reverse this trend and to make sure you’re in control.  We’ve made some progress, although we still have a long way to go.  When the Department of Labor tried to ban some kids from doing certain farm work on their relative’s or neighbor’s farms, I put pressure on them and they withdrew the rule.  When OSHA tried to regulate small family farms, we got them to reverse course.  When the President’s health care law sought to ration care for seniors, we gutted the finances for the program and continue to fight for its full repeal.

Independence Day is yet another reminder of why we need to keep fighting for a smarter government – a government that opens opportunities for every American and protects our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  During this year’s Independence Day celebrations, I encourage you to take on our Founding Father’s quieter and reflective tone – if only for a moment.  Consider the battle they fought, the declarations of liberty they made, and the journey we have yet to finish.

I am so proud to live in this country – a country where anything can happen because we have the freedom to pursue our American Dream.  We each share the responsibility of keeping it that way. 

From my family to yours, have a safe and happy Independence Day.

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Noem Statement on King v. Burwell Decision

2015/06/25

Rep. Kristi Noem today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on King v. Burwell:

“I will not be deterred by today’s decision.  The President’s health care law is bad policy – plain and simple.  Thousands of South Dakotans have already suffered the consequences of this law and there’s no sign of those burdens lifting.  Many in our state have lost access to their preferred doctors and health insurance plans.  Others remain caught in the confusion and complexity of the law.  Still others are grappling with the fact that their family’s health costs are scheduled to skyrocket again next year.  South Dakotans deserve better. We will continue to work toward a patient-centered alternative that will finally repeal the President’s health care law and replace it with a health policy that works for American families.”

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South Dakota group calls TPA vote a victory for corn farmers

2015/06/25

The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) commended the U.S. Senate for Wednesday’s approval of a bill that would expand the president’s trade-negotiating power.

The Senate passed the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 on a 60-38 vote. The House had already approved the measure.

“This is excellent news for farmers and the ag industry in general,” SDCGA President Keith Alverson said. “Exports are vital to our economy and this will open up new markets for South Dakota and U.S. products. This puts our country in a great position to negotiate deals for our grain, livestock, ethanol and other products.”

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., supported the legislation. In a statement, she highlighted what the act can do for the South Dakota economy. “When South Dakota has the opportunity to export goods to countries where the U.S. has a trade agreement, we sell approximately 11.5 times more goods than we would to a country where that relationship hasn’t been established,” she said. “TPA gives our negotiators the tools necessary to reach a fair deal that can produce those kind of results.”

TPA allows Congress to help set the rules for trade negotiations and lays out what a good trade deal looks like for America. This helps ensure greater transparency throughout the negotiating process by empowering Congress to conduct vigorous oversight. Additionally, with TPA in place, the general public will have online access to the final version of any trade agreement 60 days before that agreement is sent to Congress.

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Trade bill heads to Obama's desk, South Dakotans show support

2015/06/25

President Obama has won a major legislative victory. The Senate voted on Wednesday to give him "fast-track" trade negotiating authority.

The 60 to 38 vote sends the Trade Promotion Authority Bill to the president's desk for signature.

Mr. Obama will now have the ability to forward a final 12-nation Pacific Rim Trade Bill to the Congress for only an up-or-down approval, with no chance for amendments.

The president and Congressional Republicans joined forces in recent weeks to maneuver the bill through Congress. They did so against the objections of many Democrats, who fear the Pacific Trade Deal will hurt U.S. workers and environmental standards.

The president says the deal will create more opportunities for U.S. companies and ensure American influence in the Asian economy.

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem urged Obama to sign that trade bill as soon as possible. Noem helped to pass the legislation through the House last week. And she's not the only South Dakotan showing support; the South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) commended the bill's approval on Wednesday. SDCGA President Keith Alverson says, "This puts our country in a great position to negotiate deals for our grain, livestock, ethanol and other products." 

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Noem Urges Prompt Consideration of TPA by President, following Senate Passage

2015/06/24

Rep. Kristi Noem today urged President Obama to promptly sign a bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill following the Senate’s final passage of the legislation this afternoon.  Noem helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass this legislation on June 18.

“95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, so America limits its growth if we can’t reach them on a level playing field,” said Noem.  “When South Dakota has the opportunity to export goods to countries where the U.S. has a trade agreement, we sell approximately 11.5 times more goods than we would to a country where that relationship hasn’t been established. TPA gives our negotiators the tools necessary to reach a fair deal that can produce those kind of results.  I applaud the U.S. Senate for passing this critical bill and I strongly urge the President to move quickly in signing it.”

TPA allows Congress to help set the rules for trade negotiations and lays out congressional objectives of what a good trade deal looks like for America.  This helps ensure greater transparency throughout the negotiating process by empowering Congress to conduct vigorous oversight and hold the administration accountable.  Additionally, with TPA in place, the general public will have online access to the final version of any trade agreement 60 days before that agreement is sent to Congress.   More information on the authorities granted to Congress and the general public by TPA can be found here.

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US Congress Members Go To Bat for Breast Cancer

2015/06/24

A group of the nation's most powerful women are going to bat - literally - to support breast cancer survivors.

South Dakota's US Representative Kristi Noem is playing for a Hayti woman who was recently diagnosed.

Bipartisan congresswomen are getting off Capital Hill Wednesday and onto the softball field, playing a charity game against journalists to benefit young cancer survivors.

"It's nice to know they do something good out there," Lynn Popham said.

Representative Kristi Noem is pitching in the 7th annual Congressional Women's Softball Game in Washington D.C.

She's playing in honor of Popham, who received a difficult stage two breast cancer diagnosis in December.

"First I felt the lump and then I had my mammogram, which I have done every year, and then it showed I had something there," Popham said.

Living in Hayti, the mother of two has known the Noem family for years.

While she's honored for the recognition, she's more grateful for the spotlight the game puts on a deadly disease.

"I'm amazed every day. I think it is so wide that so many people are impacted by it," Popham said.

The event has raised over $500,000 for the Young Survival Coalition.

It is the country's largest organization dedicated to those diagnosed with cancer before 40.

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Weekly Column: Good Over Evil

2015/06/19

In his speech before Congress last March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled the Book of Esther, explaining how this ancient queen exposed a plot to destroy the Jewish people and, as a result, ensured good triumphed over evil. 

As Netanyahu went on to explain, the Jewish people once again face an adversary who seeks to destroy them – an adversary who is on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon.  That matters to us, not only because we ought to stand against this kind of obliterating evil, but because the national security interests of Israel and the United States are closely intertwined.

Israel plays a critical role in our efforts to defeat ISIL, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations in the region.  Our countries have collaborated on improving stability in the region, worked together to improve behavioral screening techniques at airports, and teamed up on counterterrorism efforts that make each of us a little safer.  We also share a common enemy – Iran, a country whose intentions to destroy does not stop at Israel, but extends to the United States.  Undoubtedly, Israel is one of our closest allies in a tumultuous region and so their survival is critical to American national security.

Nonetheless, President Obama is pursuing a deal with Iran.  Such a deal would put nuclear restrictions on Iran and in exchange, America would lift some or all economic sanctions on the Iranian people. I, along with many in the national security community, am concerned that the administration is headed down the wrong path with these negotiations.

If we are going to make a deal, it needs to be a good deal.  In other words, it must be a deal that ensures Iran has absolutely no path to a nuclear weapon.  Even no deal would be better than a bad one, as the President’s administration has admitted.

Many in South Dakota and across the county have embraced five requirements for a “good deal,” as outlined by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – or AIPAC. I too believe these requirements are a good measurement of what a final deal should include.

First, Iran would need to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure and surrender its uranium stockpiles. 

Second, inspectors would need full access to suspicious sites – anywhere, anytime.  I for one don’t trust Iran; we must be able to verify that they’re following our rules.

Third, sanctions must stay in place until it is certified that Iran has upheld its end of the deal.  If at any point Iran violates our agreement, there needs to be immediate consequences.

Fourth, Iran needs to come clean about its previous nuclear work.  This is the first step toward building confidence in the fact that their efforts are sincere.  It’s also a way in which we can establish a baseline. 

Finally, the agreement must avoid setting an arbitrary timeline for nuclear restrictions to expire.  Iran’s nuclear program must be heavily regulated until the country demonstrates it no longer wants a nuclear weapons capability.

The negotiations between Iran, the United States and five American-aligned countries are scheduled to conclude on June 30.  At that point, Congress will have at least 30 days to consider the agreement before any congressionally mandated sanctions against Iran would be lifted.  Congress will have the ability to vote a bad deal down at that point, but that’s going to be an uphill battle, as we’ll need a number of Democrats to vote against the President’s agenda.

We must not afford Iran the ability to further threaten Middle Eastern stability, jeopardize American interests, or destroy our strongest ally. In fact, we must eliminate every nuclear pathway Iran has access to in order to help ensure – just as Queen Esther did – that good continues to triumph over evil. Read More

Noem Backs Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act

2015/06/18

South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem and two other Republican lawmakers have introduced The Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act. The act comes after the Supreme Court ruling on Young vs. U-P-S. Noem says the bill protects pregnant women in the workplace.

“This bill will give us clarification into the future. And it’s very straight forward. It says that a pregnant worker ought to be given the same accommodations as a non-pregnant worker who has a temporary type disability,” says Noem,

Noem says she hopes this bill will give expectant mothers flexibility so they can continue supporting their families. The bill, introduced this week, is co-sponsored by Noem, and Representative Tim Walberg of Michigan and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

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Trade Promotion Authority clears US House

2015/06/18

The House today passed the Trade Promotion Authority Bill which Congresswoman Kristi Noem says guarantees a more transparent process.

Noem says the bill establishes the rules for trade negotiations.

Noem says it tell the Administration that they have to follow the rules established by Congress, they have to consult with Congress and to remember that Congress has the final say in any agreement.       

T-P-A goes to the Senate where a vote is not expected until next week.

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Noem Safeguards Accountability and Transparency with Support of Trade Promotion Authority

2015/06/18

Rep. Kristi Noem today joined colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, which would set the rules for trade negotiations and lay out congressional objectives as to what a good trade deal looks like for America.

“With Trade Promotion Authority in place, the American people would be guaranteed a seat at the negotiating table,” said Noem, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over such issues.  “95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, so America limits its growth if we can’t reach those folks on a level playing field.  TPA does not lock us into any trade agreement that gives Americans access to these markets, but it does set the rules as to how the administration can go about such negotiations. At its core, TPA guarantees a more transparent process where the administration can be held accountable to the American people for meeting the trade objectives set by Congress.”

With passage in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Trade Promotion Authority bill will be sent to the U.S. Senate for its approval before hitting the President’s desk.  You can find more information on the authorities granted to Congress and the general public by TPA here.

“With TPA, Congress is telling the administration:  If a trade agreement is to get the privilege of an up-or-down vote in Congress, you must follow our rules and instructions, consult us, and remember that we have the last say,” explained Noem.  “But it’s also important to remember that TPA in no way obligates Congress to approve the Trans Pacific Partnership or any other trade agreement.   If this administration violates the parameters we’ve set, Congress can revoke TPA.  And if he follows the parameters and we still don’t like the agreement, Congress has the power to vote it down.”

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Noem's Office Accepting Applications for Fall Interns

2015/06/17

Representative Kristi Noem is accepting applications for fall internships in her Washington, D.C., office, as well as in her offices in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Watertown.

Student interns in Representative Noem’s office will assist staff with various constituent service and communications projects, as well as assist with legislative research.  Both South Dakota and Washington, D.C., internships provide students with first-hand knowledge of the legislative process and the countless other functions of a congressional office.

College students who are interested in interning in any of Representative Noem’s offices should submit a resume, cover letter, and references to Christiana.Frazee@mail.house.gov by August 3.

For more information, contact Christiana Frazee at 202-225-2801.

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Noem Helps Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Protections for Expectant Mothers

2015/06/17

Rep. Kristi Noem today joined Rep. Tim Walberg and Sen. Lisa Murkowski in introducing the Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act to strengthen protections for expectant mothers in the workplace.  The legislation, which was introduced in both the House and Senate, provides much-needed protections in light of a recent Supreme Court decision, Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., where the Justices wrote an unclear opinion related to a central provision of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.  Because of this, further clarification of the law is needed.

“Expectant mothers ought to be given some level of flexibility during their pregnancy so they can continue working and supporting their families,” said Noem.  “I’m proud that our legislation takes a balanced approach, protecting mothers and strengthening families without imposing duplicative burdens on their employers.”

The legislation will modernize the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 by clarifying that a pregnant worker should be treated the same as a non-pregnant worker who may have a temporary disability and is therefore unable to perform certain duties.  Click here to read a PDF of the Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act.

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Weekly Column: The Kind of Father My Husband Is

2015/06/12

Moms tend to notice things that don't get done. I'll admit it. I'm guilty. I can drive in the driveway and see that the yard needs to be mowed or the fences painted.  I’ll walk in the house and see the pile of shoes by the door or the laundry that needs to be folded. Moms tend to be multi-taskers; only able to relax when everything is put away, kids are clean, and animals fed. And if we are tired or overwhelmed, you will hear us say "Honey, will you?"

At our house, Bryon completes many of our chores. I am gone most weeks to DC and he is left to handle all things related to work, kids, the ranch, and the house until I come home on the weekend. I know that I am blessed to have a husband who recognizes how wonderful it is for me to come home to a clean house and tended family - and he tries to make that happen.

But what makes me love him more each day is to come home to happy children. You see, I married Bryon because I loved him and wanted to build a life with him, but at the time, I really had no idea what kind of a father he would be. I had a sneaking suspicion he would be a great dad because he has a wonderful father who is a great role model. Bryon loves the Lord and understands the responsibility that God gives to men leading their families. As the years went by and the kids were born, his actions revealed to me how he viewed fatherhood. He served.

He gave Kassidy her first bath. In fact, my mom came to stay with us for a few days after Kassidy was born and soon she came to me and said, "I might as well go home. Bryon won't let me do anything."

When Kennedy was a baby, she had reflux so bad, everyone was reluctant to hold her because of the spit up bath she was sure to give them.  But her dad held her constantly and thought it was "cute.”

Booker was such a sick little boy with so many breathing problems that he needed multiple inhalers, medications, and constant trips to the hospital. Bryon prayed over him every night, asking God to heal our little boy.

When you look at our family home videos, you will find they were all taken by Bryon. I'm not sure it ever occurred to me to document those busy years. Yet there are hours and hours of video of the kids playing, talking, and sometimes just watching TV! It is almost as if he knew how special those moments were and wanted to save them for me to enjoy when I decided to slow down enough to appreciate them.

His gifts to our children are not often material. They are not fancy or over the top. But he gives our children so much more. Bryon teaches them the importance of hard work, independence, the value of the dollar and responsibility, while also making sure they know they are special, unique and loved.

When I stop to really think about what his busy weeks must be like when he is running his business, coaching athletic teams, organizing the kids’ schedules, keeping the house running and remembering to buy milk, I remember how blessed I am. And when I get home and hear the stories of the week and listen to my children's laughter in the retelling, I thank God for the father He gave to Kassidy, Kennedy and Booker. 

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Noem: House repeal of meat labeling rule was premature

2015/06/12

Rep. Kristi Noem said Thursday the House moved too quickly in voting to repeal a law requiring steaks, pork chops and other meats to have country-of-origin labels on them.

Last month, the World Trade Organization rejected an appeal from the United States on country of origin labeling (COOL), determining the rule unfairly discriminated against meats from Canada and Mexico. The trading partners have argued it forces American consumers to favor U.S. meat and saddles them with higher costs to comply with the rule because they must separate their animals from those that originated in the United States.

Both countries have vowed to retaliate by placing billions of dollars of tariffs on products from South Dakota and other states. The threat has provided an impetus for some lawmakers in Congress to work toward ending the rule.

Late Wednesday, the House voted 300-131 to end the law, with Noem one of only 10 Republicans to vote against repeal. She has favored labeling as a tool to give consumers more information about the food they eat.

“It was too early to have that bill on the House floor,” Noem told reporters. “I still feel there could be some reforms made to COOL that would allow it to stay in place but still be compliant so it doesn’t impact our exports to Canada and Mexico.”

Country-of-origin labeling, which took effect in November 2013, was included in both the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. Poultry, beef and pork packages must include a label indicating, for example, that the animals were “Born, Raised and Slaughtered in the U.S.” or “Born and Raised in Canada, Slaughtered in the U.S.” The rule has been struck down twice by the WTO.

Gerry Ritz, Canada’s agricultural minister, said the House legislation was a “positive” first step.

“The only way for the United States to avoid billions in retaliation by late summer is to ensure legislation repealing COOL passes the Senate and is signed by the president," said Ritz.

Ray Gaesser, chairman of the American Soybean Association, called repeal of the labeling measure the “sensible thing to do” because Mexico and Canada are valuable trading partners. “It’s clear the rule needs to go,” he said.

Canada has estimated about 10 percent of South Dakota’s exports to Canada — about $73 million — would be threatened by retaliation. The products include pork, beef and chicken. South Dakota exported $1.6 billion in goods during 2014, up 0.3 percent from the prior year. The exports helped support more than 24,000 jobs in the state last year, according to the White House.

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said Thursday he has met with officials from the Canadian embassy who are working to figure out how much the labeling has hurt them financially through the loss of shipments to the United States and additional costs to comply with the rule. Canada and Mexico have estimated damages could top more than $3 billion.

Rounds told reporters he favored waiting to change labeling and said that, so far, it appears the Senate has no plans to take up the House measure.

“There is no reason to hurry into it until we know what their demands are,” Rounds said. “As we work through that process, we’ll be able to either find out if there is a negotiated settlement that we’re capable of getting done with them, or if we need to do the full-length repeal.”

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Thune, Noem, Obama against the Democrats on trade

2015/06/12

South Dakota's all Republican congressional delegation supports President Obama on fast track trade authority. It was the President's own House Democrats who voted against him Friday on trade. They rejected a key component of Obama's global trade program.

Senator John Thune says South Dakota agriculture depends on exports and the state's producers are going to be left on the sidelines without TPA legislation.

Representative Kristi Noem says there is a lot of misinformation floating around about TPA. She says it will not give the President new powers, but rather give greater trade powers to Congress.

Senator Mike Rounds also supports the President on TPA.

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Seizing the seas

2015/06/11

Defining “navigable waters” or Waters of the United States (WOTUS) might sound a bit difficult to most people, but not for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers. 

According to a recent article, they’ve defined it as “traditional navigable waters; interstate waters, including interstate wetlands; the territorial seas; impoundments of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, including interstate wetlands, the territorial seas, and tributaries, as defined, of such waters; tributaries, as defined, of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters or the territorial seas; and adjacent waters, including adjacent wetlands.”

Confused yet? Sounds like that could include pretty much any body of water. Intermittent streams and others can be included through a “case-specific” showing that they, either alone or in combination with other bodies of water, may have a “significant nexus” to a traditional navigable water.

U.S. Rep. (R-SD) Kristi Noem calls this one of the largest federal land grabs in history and is troubled by the broad definition of “navigable” waters. In a recent press release, she expressed deep disappointment with the EPA.

“Small ditches that flow through our backyards, prairie potholes and streams that run only during heavy rains could now be subject to Clean Water Act regulations, meaning everyday tasks like spraying your lawn for mosquitoes or your crops for disease could potentially require new federal permits,” Noem said. 

“And if the landowner falls out of compliance, penalties could cost more than $30,000 per day. Despite significant public outcry, the administration is trying to jam this massive expansion of federal power through, further eroding private property rights,” she added. “They must reverse course.”

Sen. Johnâ??Thune said rule-makers in Washington’s concrete jungle are forcing agriculture producers, homeowners and small businesses across the country to comply with rules that will have devastating effects in rural America. He argues that many of the people making these decisions have never even stepped foot in the states where the effects will be most felt.

Thune said he is especially concerned about the EPA claiming jurisdiction in the Prairie Pothole Region throughout East River. And it doesn’t end there.

“The EPA delivered a one-two punch to South Dakota farmers last week when, following its WOTUS announcement, it proposed new Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) volume requirements for 2014-16,” he said. 

Custer County commissioner and rancher Jim Lintz said he’s been against this for as long as he’s been in the legislature, since 2008 or before. He figured it was pretty much a done deal from the first mention of it.

“It was a power grab and they’ve got it,” he said. “It will be gradual over time, I suspect, and I’m not sure we’ll see any immediate effects, but it will plant lots of possibilities to control water.”

Tom Barnes, supervisor of Custer County Conservation District and local rancher, said when Al Gore had his Clean Water Action Plan (which was similar to WOTUS) it was almost inconceivable that anything like it would pass legislation, but here we are on the cusp of a very important decision.

“The effects on agriculture are astounding. It would allow them to control everything. To be able to include every draw — dry, wet or intermittent. The potential effects could be devastating, especially for the West where we have so little water to begin with,” Barnes said.

Noem said, however, this is not the end of the road. She said the House has already passed bipartisan legislation that would ditch this rule and send the EPA back to the drawing board. She is strongly urging the Senate to pass similar legislation.

Lintz said he doubts any periods of comment (which closed in November 2014) made any difference and that those who make decisions have done what they had to do to get this passed.

“They’ll be able to fence off creeks,” he said. “There are lots of things they can do; it’s just a matter of what they want to do first.”

Barnes said this is just the first step and the EPA will be able to start adding different restrictions from here.

Reed Hopper and Todd Gaziano, members of the Pacific Legal Foundation, the first and oldest public interest legal organization, complain that the rule would federalize virtually all water in the nation — and much of the land — in direct contravention of Supreme Court precedent. 

They reference two Supreme Court cases which found that the Army Corps could not regulate isolated bodies of water that were not connected to traditional navigable waters and that agencies could not regulate wetlands merely because they have a hydrological connection to downstream waters.

Lintz also has concerns as a rancher. He has a small stream that runs through his property and that, too, could eventually be fenced off and no longer his.

“The federal government has more and more of a hold all the time. This is just another tentacle reaching out,” he said. “The federal agencies are full of people who are furthering this sort of agenda. It’s not just the President who is elected into office, but everyone in these positions. Eventually we’ll all pay the price.”

Barnes has hope in South Dakota legislators and most legislators in the West, though. Rep. Noem has made sure her voice is heard and Barnes hopes the public will contact other legislators as well.

“I plan on writing a letter myself. And I know the conservationâ??district will also write a letter,” Barnes said. “We haven’t discussed it much this time around at the district meetings, but I know we all have the same feeling and that is ‘please don’t let this happen.’”

Thune strongly opposes the EPA’s overreach and will continue to work with fellow senators to do whatever is possible to block these regulations. 

Maps of every single body of water in the state of South Dakota — and nation — have been released. Viewing the map of South Dakota, one quickly understands how quickly things could get out of control. That  map can be viewed here: science.edgeboss.net/sst2014/documents/epa/south_dakota2013.pdf

Visit http://www2.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule/documents-related-clean-water-rule for more documentation put together by the EPA.

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Congress considering whether or not to renew TPA

2015/06/11

Congress is considering whether or not to renew Trade Promotion Authority.
It's the process between Congress and the administration for negotiating trade deals that has existed in some form for over 80 years.

South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem says when South Dakota has an opportunity to export goods to other countries with trade agreements with the United States, South Dakota sells 11.5 times more goods to that country, because of the trade agreement.

Representative Kristi Noem said, "So that's why it's critical that we get TPA passed this week, make sure that we have a process for how negotiations can continue so that trade agreements can be finalized in the near future, that will help our economy grow and help our egg products to get a lot more access to those foreign markets."

With TPA, Noem says Congress has greater influence over trade agreements and U.S. negotiators hold a stronger position to secure a good deal for American producers, consumers and workers.

The U.S. House is expected to vote on this Friday.

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Setting the Record Straight on TPA

2015/06/11

First and foremost, Washington uses far too many abbreviations and they can get misconstrued, so let’s start with some definitions…

TPA = Trade Promotion Authority.  This is what the U.S. House is expected to vote on this Friday.  It defines congressional objectives and priorities for the administration to follow when negotiating trade agreements (more on this below).  TPA is not a new power being sought by the President. In fact, nearly every president since FDR has had TPA.  The legislative text for TPA is available here.

TPP = Trans Pacific Partnership.  This is the name of a trade agreement that the U.S. is negotiating with 11 other countries. The U.S. has been negotiating this since the Bush administration. There is no vote scheduled on TPP and there won’t be until all of the countries involved finalize negotiations and the public has been able to review it for at least 60 days (assuming TPA passes, that is).

 

There is a lot of misinformation floating around about what the U.S. House of Representatives is voting on this week.  Let’s set the record straight…

Myth:  Congress is voting this week on a trade agreement.
Fact:  This week, Congress is expected to vote on TPA – a bill that would set congressional parameters on any ongoing trade negotiations, including TPP. 
TPA is in no way a trade agreement.  Instead, TPA allows Congress to help set the rules for trade negotiations and lays out objectives of what a good trade deal looks like for America.  This helps ensure greater transparency throughout the negotiating process by empowering Congress to conduct vigorous oversight and hold the administration accountable. 

Myth:  Congress will have to pass TPA to see what is in it.
Fact:  TPA’s legislative language has been publicly available for nearly two months.  You can find a copy of the bill Congress will be voting on here.
We know exactly what TPA will do and we have for quite some time.  As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Noem helped edit the TPA bill that the House is expected to vote on this week.  On April 23 in a public hearing, she joined members of that Committee in clearing the legislative language for consideration by the full House.

Myth: TPP is being negotiated with a dangerous and unprecedented level of secrecy (and TPA lets that happen).
Fact:  While TPP negotiating documents are available to Members of Congress, they are not fully available to the general public right now because there is no finalized agreement to review.  This is common during negotiations like this.  That being said, the final text would be available online for 60 days before it’s even sent to Congress for its consideration, assuming TPA is in place. This 60-day review period is mandated by the pending TPA legislation.
It is false to say that TPP negotiations have been secretive.  The USTR and Congress have met nearly 1,700 times in the last five years to discuss TPP negotiations.  Key congressional committees – including the House Ways and Means Committee of which Rep. Noem is a member – have also received previews of various TPP proposals before the U.S. Trade Representative took them to our trading partners. With TPA in place, the general public will have online access to the final version of any trade agreement, including TPP, 60 days before that agreement is sent to Congress.  Earlier drafts are not made public in this way, because revealing draft proposals before a deal is struck emboldens our opposition, undermines our negotiating positions, and exposes negotiators to public scrutiny over provisions that might not even be in a final deal.  We need to keep the upper hand to get the best deal for America.

Myth: TPA gives the President new and unlimited powers.
Fact: TPA gives Congress greater powers, while putting dozens of strict negotiating parameters on the President.
The President already has the authority to negotiate a trade agreement under the Constitution, but TPA enables Congress to be part of the process.  If TPA is established, Congress is telling the administration:  If a trade agreement is to get the privilege of an up-or-down vote in Congress, you must follow our rules and instructions, keep us in the loop, and remember that we have the last say.  As a result, Congress maintains total control over the international trade authority granted to it by Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, TPA in no way obligates Congress to approve TPP or any other trade agreement.   If this administration violates the parameters we’ve set, Congress can revoke TPA.  And if he follows the parameters and we still don’t like the agreement, Congress has the power to vote it down. 

Myth: TPP is a secret backdoor to achieve the President’s political agenda.
Fact:  The TPA bill specifically bars the President from enacting any changes to U.S. law.
Many have tried to claim that TPA will allow the President to bypass Congress and use the TPP as a backdoor to lawlessly expand immigration, curtail gun rights, or restrict Internet freedom, among other things. That is false.  The Constitution is clear: only Congress can change U.S. law.  TPA further reinforces that with additional restraints on the President. 

Myth: Trade agreements destroy U.S. jobs.
Fact: Expanding markets for American exports will fuel stronger economic growth and create jobs.
95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders.  Our growth is limited if our products can’t reach those consumers on a level playing field. Trade supports124,000 jobs in South Dakota.  It enables South Dakota to export $3.7 billion in goods and $1.3 billion in services annually through more than 970 exporters.  It has a huge impact on our economy, and with lower trade barriers, those opportunities only grow. If we don’t expand our opportunities through trade agreements, other countries (like China) will fill the void.

Still looking for more information?  Here are some helpful links.

Summary of Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015
Overview of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015
Frequently Asked Questions
Updates to TPA in 2015
Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015
Conservative Support for TPA
Section-by-Section Summary
Report

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Noem encourages delegates to become involved

2015/06/06

Kristi Noem is a South Dakota Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  She was elected in 2010 and again on Nov. 4, 2014.

“My kids and I have had so many unique experiences,” Noem said.

Noem is the mother to daughters Kassidy and Kennedy, and son Booker. She said it is a special balance between family time and work time.

Every week she travels to Washington D.C. to meet with the other congressmen and women, then flies home on the weekends to be with her family. Other members of congress have  picked up their lives and moved to D.C. while working, but Noem has ties to South Dakota with her family’s ranch. Also, Noem enjoys being able to communicate on a daily basis with local South Dakotans to understand what they would like to see happen in the future. Her travels through the Minneapolis airport are so frequent it is almost like another home to her, but she said it is worth it because of all the new experiences she has been able to have with her family.

“I am gone all week, but when I come home I still do the laundry, I still grocery shop, I have to do paperwork and conference calls for work,” Noem said.

Lacy Steiner and Elizabeth Looby, both citizens of Seattle, said one of the most challenging parts of being women in government positions is having the confidence and strength to stand proud and voice their opinion. The first thing they would work on if they were ever elected to Congress would be to get their voices out to communities, small and large, and let them know what they stand for. They believe that it is important gain local support.

Claire Saltzman, also of Seattle, said women need to encourage other women to take part in their government.

She said if women are given confidence boosters, it helps them to feel as though their voice matters, and can help to make an impact in the world.

“A lot of women back out because they don’t think they can do it, more encouragement of women taking charge is needed,” Saltzman said.

Kristi Noem said women usually have to be asked to run for congress. She herself was asked for two years to consider running. She said she did not realize the importance of women’s roles in the government until she was elected and experienced how influential women can be.

There are men in Washington who are deciding what women’s health care rates should be, and if women should get equal pay. She said it is important for women to speak up and make sure we do not loose the things that women have fought so hard for in the past.

“Our perspective is different than what men have. If we don’t become active and involved, it will not be good for us,” Noem said.

Some advice Noem has for the South Dakota Girls State delegates of 2015 as they enter their senior year is to enjoy it as much as you can. Noem said her senior year was the best year of high school. She believes it is important to say ‘Thank you’ to the people who have influenced you in your life. Whether it is your kindergarten teacher, your basketball coach, or your high school English teacher, take a little time out of the day and simply tell them you are grateful for them.

“Don’t get overwhelmed. I think a lot of people feel that they have to know what they are going to do after school, know what college they are going to go to, but just take it a day at a time and enjoy your senior year,” Noem said.

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Noem Uses The Past To Inspire Future Leaders

2015/06/05

Seize every opportunity.

Three simple words that US Representative Kristi Noem hopes the participants of Girls State take to heart.

Noem, who spoke to the Girls State representatives Friday night at the MUC ballroom on the campus of the University of South Dakota, said if the girls take nothing else from the week, she hopes they learn that they don’t have to be afraid to try.

"(Speaking at events like) this is one of the things that has always been a priority for me, because I remember things that people said to me when I was this age that changed how I felt," Noem said following her speech. "I was a very insecure person in high school and people said things to me that showed that I could contribute and that is helpful."

She commented that if the attendees of Girls State learn to take opportunities when they come, they will be successful.

"I think a lot of times we talk ourselves out of doing things before we ever experience them," Noem said. "So, I hope they see something and just go try it. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. I think a lot of times people look at failure as something that is big and scary when, really, it is just a teaching opportunity. "

Using two examples of women who went outside their traditional roles and life stories, Noem hoped to impress on those in attendance that many times we are our own worst enemy.

"I know that many times when we come to big groups, we come in not very sure of ourselves," she said. "Have you ever driven your car and realized that it is driving very hard, that it just doesn’t feel like it is working correctly? It’s jerking and it’s stiff, then after a while you look down and realize your emergency break is on. Aren’t you amazed when you take the emergency break off? It feels like someone gave you a brand new car."

Noem said many people go through life with their emergency brake on.

"Maybe we don’t think we are smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, whatever it is, we all put our emergency brake on and it will make your life harder if you leave it on," she said. "I would just like to encourage you to take your emergency brake off. Stop worrying about all those insecurities, just let it go and be yourself. If you leave those on, it will be a much harder and more difficult life. If it is something that needs to be done – an opportunity to change the world around you – I hope all of you grab it."

Noting that there is no such thing as a boy’s job or a girl’s job, Noem used the example of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman ever elected to US Congress.

"Jeanette Rankin was active about 130 years ago," Noem said. "One of the reasons Jeanette became such a hard worker was because there were not very many boys in her family. Everything she did to help her dad and her mom was not a girl’s job or a boy’s job, it was just a job that needed to be done. … It taught her a lot of perseverance doing those jobs that traditionally would have been a boy’s jobs, which I think gave her a perspective that she would eventually work at."

Noem said she found Rankin inspirational in that she didn’t stay in her box.

"What I have learned as I studied her life is that the positions she took and the things that she worked on, at that time, were not always things that people thought women should be concerned about on," she said. "During her time in Congress she focused on foreign policy. During that time, they tried to put women in a box and said that women should only be concerned about their families or education. But she changed that on a national level. It reminds me a lot of the lessons that you may be learning here this week, as well."

Noem said her upbringing was similar, as she was always helping her father on their family farm.

"My life was devastated when I was attending college and my dad was killed in an accident on the farm," she said. "When he passed away, we didn’t know what we were going to do. I quit college and came home to take over the operation to try to make it survive and carry on. The challenging thing during that time was that we immediately, within about a month, got a bill from the IRS saying we owed the federal government money because my dad had died. There is a tax that happens called the death tax, when someone passes away, everything they own is taxed and you have to pay it to the federal government."

She explained that her family had land, cows and machinery, but no cash to pay the tax.

"My dad had always raised me that as a farmer you don’t sell land because God isn’t making any more land," she said. "But sell land that had been in my family for generations, or take out a loan and pay those taxes were my only options. I took out a loan but it took us 10 years to pay off that loan. At that point and time I thought a lot about advice that my dad had given me. Anytime I complained about something or didn’t like something he would say, ‘Don’t complain, unless you are going to do something about it.’"

She said it was at that point she got involved in the state legislature.

Noem then used the story of Grace Hopper, a World War II era mathematician to explain why it is so important to try to succeed, even when told you can’t.

"Grace Hopper went to work for one of the contractors working on one of the very first mechanical computers," Noem said. "She became the programmer for that and realized that it was very difficult to communicate with the computer because it only talked in mathematical terms. So, if you wanted to use this computer or any other computer developed you had to know mathematics. She didn’t think that was very smart. So in 1949, she said she was going to fix it. She started talking to people, asking, ‘Don’t you think computers should be able to do the mathematics but understand human language?’ Everyone thought she was crazy."

Noem said it took Hopper 10 years, but she developed the very first language that allowed people to use human language and talk to computers. It was called COBOL. Twenty years later, more than 70 percent of computers had that language in them.

"It was because of one woman, doing a job that no woman had done before, in a very difficult time during our nation," she said. "She stepped up and said, ‘I can do this.’ It changed the way the world operates.

"Even though we look at these women and think they must be phenomenal women who changed the world around them, I hope that all of you realize that is the impact you can have on the world."

Noem said the Girls State attendees should never let anyone say they can’t do anything.

"When I ran for Congress the first time, I talked to several people; I had a couple of men tell me they wouldn’t support me because they didn’t think women should be in leadership positions," she said. "This was just five years ago. I was shocked, but when I left I thought just because that perspective is out there doesn’t mean that is what has to be. I firmly believe women have to be involved in all kinds of roles. We need women in leadership and weigh in on policy that is affecting our daily lives. We don’t have women’s issues in this country, we have women’s perspective on every issue and I feel like we have much better policy and solutions when women are involved in the discussion."

Noem told the girls to always make an impact.

"I will tell you no matter what you do and where you go, you will change people’s lives," she said. "I will tell you be bold. Speak what you think and feel because you have the opportunity to educate people. I think you all are our future. We need to make sure we have your voices out there weighing in on all the issues affecting our lives and make sure our future is just as bright as it always has been."

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Noem Plays in Honor of Hayti Woman (KELOLAND)

2015-06-25 18:59:50


Noem Plays Softball in Honor of Hayti Woman

2015-06-24 19:22:12


Noem Questions Witnesses on Health Insurance Premium Increases

2015-06-24 16:22:19


Noem Helps Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Protections for Expectant Mothers (KELOLAND)

2015-06-18 13:59:09


Noem's Anti-Human Trafficking Language Signed into Law (KNBN)

2015-06-05 14:08:48


Noem Addresses Hill City High School Graduates (KSFY)

2015-05-26 19:43:12


Rep. Noem Addresses Hill City High School Graduates (KOTA)

2015-05-26 19:42:11


Noem Speaks about Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act on House Floor (CSPAN)

2015-05-18 21:54:21


Noem Addresses 2015 Hill City High School Graduates (KEVN)

2015-05-18 14:17:48


Noem Speaks at Deployment Ceremony for SD Air National Guard's 114th Fighter Wing (KDLT)

2015-05-12 16:29:29


Noem Views Tornado Damage in Delmont (KELO)

2015-05-12 16:29:27


Noem Views Tornado Damage in Delmont (KDLT)

2015-05-12 16:29:23


Noem Speaks at Deployment Ceremony for SD Air National Guard's 114th Fighter Wing (KEVN)

2015-05-12 16:29:20


Noem Speaks at Deployment Ceremony for SD Air National Guard's 114th Fighter Wing (KELO)

2015-05-12 16:29:18


Noem Questions IRS Commissioner (On The Record; Fox News)

2015-04-23 16:13:26


Noem Questions IRS Commissioner (Fox News)

2015-04-23 15:03:13


Noem Questions IRS Commissioner on Deliberately Diverting Funds from Customer Service

2015-04-22 16:43:52


Noem Fights for New Technology for Powder River (KOTA)

2015-04-16 19:47:59


Noem Previews Death Tax Vote (KEVN)

2015-04-16 19:47:18


Noem Talks with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren about the Death Tax

2015-04-16 14:08:24


Contact Information

1323 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2801
Fax 202-225-5823
noem.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem is a wife, mother, experienced rancher, farmer, and former small business owner. Kristi was born and raised in rural Hamlin County in northeastern South Dakota and still lives there today with her husband, Bryon, and their three children, Kassidy, Kennedy, and Booker.

Kristi learned the value of hard work early in life from her father. He put Kristi, her sister and two brothers to work on the family farm at a young age caring for the cattle and horses and helping with planting and harvest. After graduating from high school, Kristi began attending college at Northern State University in Aberdeen. When her father died unexpectedly in a farming accident, Kristi returned to the family farm and ranch full-time. Her father’s death left a huge absence, so Kristi stepped up and helped stabilize the operation and provided leadership when it was needed most.

Kristi’s work on the farm and ranch didn’t go unnoticed. In 1997 she received the South Dakota Outstanding Young Farmer award and in 2003 she was honored with the South Dakota Young Leader award.

Kristi’s experience as a small business owner shaped her understanding of government and its purpose. Too often, government is inefficient and ineffective, simply getting in the way of small businesses and entrepreneurs who wish to create jobs and grow our economy. Realizing this, Kristi decided to get involved to try and make a difference.

Her service includes the South Dakota State Farm Agency State Committee, the Commission for Agriculture in the 21st Century, the South Dakota Soybean Association, and numerous other boards and committees. In the fall of 2006, Kristi was elected as the 6th District Representative to the South Dakota House of Representatives.

Kristi quickly realized she could serve her district, and the State of South Dakota, more effectively in a leadership position. So in her second term she ran for, and won, the position of Assistant Majority Leader in the State House, where she served until 2010.

Kristi was first elected to serve as South Dakota’s lone Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 2, 2010.

While keeping up with her Congressional duties in Washington, D.C. and work with constituents in South Dakota, Kristi continued to take undergraduate courses from South Dakota State University. In December 2011, Kristi graduated from SDSU with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

On November 6, 2012, Kristi was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where she continues to serve on the Agriculture Committee and House Armed Services Committee.

Kristi enjoys helping her daughters compete in rodeo and 4-H. She has been a 4-H leader for 14 years. Kristi is also an avid hunter. She particularly enjoys pheasant hunting on the homestead and archery elk with her brothers.


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