Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Weekly Column: A Disturbing Deal

2015/07/24

Days after the Obama administration announced it had reached a nuclear deal with Iran, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei told supporters that “even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change.”  His uncompromising and menacing remarks were accented by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” in the background.  Even Secretary of State John Kerry – one of America’s staunchest supporters of the deal – called the scene “very disturbing.”  The Secretary’s words are the same words I’d use to describe the deal the Obama administration has proposed with Iran – very disturbing.

First and foremost, the administration’s proposed agreement with Iran fundamentally fails to eliminate Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon. In fact, Iran will be allowed to keep its centrifuges and many of its nuclear production facilities intact. 

What’s more, access to inspect the facilities will be limited.  It was President Reagan who advised us to “trust, but verify.”  We cannot trust Iran and under the President’s proposal we still can’t fully verify their nuclear activities either. Rather than anywhere-anytime access, Iran will get as much as 24 days notice before inspectors will be allowed in.  A lot can be concealed in 24 days.

While America’s primary objective was not reached, Iran’s was.  In addition to maintaining their nuclear infrastructure, the economic sanctions on Iran will begin to be lifted by the end of 2015.  That could produce a windfall of up to $150 billion almost immediately.  The administration argues the sanctions could “snap back” if Iran violates the agreement, but it will take time for those sanctions to be reinstated.  By the time they are, Iran will be infused with cash, meaning we will have lost our diplomatic leverage.

Moreover, there are no restrictions on how Iran – the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism – can spend this influx of cash, an idea that is extremely concerning to our ally Israel and others in the region.  With the arms embargo eventually lifting as a result of this deal too, there is little doubt that Iran will be directing some of that cash toward a stronger, better equipped military.  In fact, Iran is already in negotiations with Russia for the purchase of military aircraft.

We need to walk away from this agreement.  While it’s a good deal for Iran, it’s a bad deal for America, Israel, and our allies.

Congress now has 60 days to review the agreement.  After that, we can vote on whether it moves forward or not.  While the President has already promised to veto congressional action against the agreement, we do have options to override him with enough congressional support.

A bad deal with Iran will jeopardize the security of America, the safety of our ally Israel, and peace around the world.  I’m gravely concerned the President’s proposal puts us in this jeopardizing position.

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Noem Supports Legislation to Hold Sanctuary Cities Accountable for Failing to Enforce the Law

2015/07/23

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass legislation to cut off certain federal grants for sanctuary cities that ignore federal immigration law.

“As a mom, I want to make our communities as safe as they can possibly be for our kids,” said Noem.  “It broke my heart to see the grief that struck Kate Steinle’s family after she was murdered by a man who came here illegally and had a criminal history but was still knowingly allowed to stay in our country.   We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation where the rule of law applies – and for good reason.  We need to secure our borders and that includes ending the practice of establishing sanctuary cities.  That is what today’s legislation aims to accomplish.”

H.R.3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, prohibits sanctuary cities from receiving federal grants to help pay for the incarceration of undocumented criminal immigrants.  It also prohibits those localities from being eligible for COPS and Byrne law enforcement grants.

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GOP to IRS: Just admit Tea Party was targeted

2015/07/23

GOP lawmakers told the IRS commissioner on Thursday to just admit that the tax agency targeted Tea Party groups.

John Koskinen’s response: Not my call to make.

Koskinen, speaking to a House Ways and Means subcommittee, reiterated that the IRS was wrong to single out groups seeking tax-exempt status based solely on their names.

But the IRS chief also said that congressional committees will have to make the final call on what drove that scrutiny – which the agency, through then-official Lois Lerner, admitted and apologized for more than two years ago.

“The motivation behind it, and the issues behind it, are what the investigations are investigating,” Koskinen told reporters after appearing before the subcommittee.

The IRS chief added that it was “not appropriate for us to try to get in front of those investigations.” The Senate Finance Committee’s inquiry into the IRS, a bipartisan report more than two years in the making, is expected in the next couple weeks.

“They’re the ones that will be making judgments,” Koskinen said, adding that he’d be “happy to accept their findings” and wants to read the Finance panel’s recommendations.

But Republicans on the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee weren’t buying that rationale. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), the panel’s chairman, suggested that the IRS would have more credibility from lawmakers if the agency more openly said that bias played a role in the treatment of Tea Party groups.

Roskam, pointing to emails that Lerner sent about auditing Crossroads GPS, the pro-GOP group started by Karl Rove, said there was a "common sense reading of these things and the sequence of them says there was an agenda here, and the agenda was to target people based on a particular philosophy.”

“You can be the one that says, 'Hey, it's all over. We acknowledge that there was targeting that took place' – which is a huge, a huge acknowledgement,” Roskam added. “Which the IRS has never done.”

The back-and-forth came at a hearing about the IRS’s audit procedures, which a new federal report said were lacking to the point that organizations could be chosen for examinations for biased reasons.

Republicans have sought to make the report, from the Government Accountability Office, a new front in their Tea Party investigation.

But Koskinen stressed at Thursday’s hearing that there’s no proof that any group has been chosen for an audit because of their political or religious beliefs.

“There was no evidence of bias in the selection process,” Koskinen said about the GAO report.

Koskinen also told lawmakers that the IRS’s chief risk officer, brought in from outside the agency, examined the agency’s audit process in 2013.

“He spent several months looking at the criteria used by more than 350 IRS compliance programs, and found no evidence of bias in any of them,” Koskinen said.

Jay McTigue of the GAO said that the watchdog wasn’t really concentrating on finding examples of bias in the audit process, even as he acknowledged that Koskinen’s statements were true.

“We did not observe any instances of unfair selection,” McTigue said, before adding: “Our study was looking at broader controls.”

Roskam and the panel’s other Republicans made it clear that they disagreed with Koskinen’s assessment, pointing frequently to Lerner’s comments about Crossroads. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) said that the commissioner’s stance that the report only found a “hypothetical” chance of group’s being audited for biased reasons suggested the IRS didn’t take the findings seriously.

But Koskinen inisted that Lerner, the former head of the IRS division overseeing tax-exempt groups, didn’t have the power to green light an audit on her own.

“I think it’s a misrepresentation to say we’re not taking the report seriously,” Koskinen told Noem.

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Military contract causes local company to seek expansion

2015/07/21

Glacial Lakes Rubber and Plastics has been up and running in Watertown for just under a year, but the company has already outgrown its facility and will be moving into a new building at the Pheasant Ridge Industrial Park.

A major factor in the company’s rapid growth was landing a contract from Vibram USA, headquartered in Concord, Mass., to produce soles for U.S. military boots.

“Our business helps ensure the military is taken care of,” said Mike Gionfriddo, Vibram USA CEO. “To expand here in the Midwest and have Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics as a viable second source is key.”

Vibram USA is the largest supplier of high-quality footwear soling to the U.S. Department of Defense. End of year contract projections with Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastic are $3 million in sales.

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., was at Glacial Lakes Rubber and Plastics Monday morning for the press conference announcing the contract. She also toured the facility and visited with many of the company’s employees along the way.

“The partnership between Glacial Lakes Rubber and  Plastics and Vibram is a true testament to the talented and dedicated workforce in South Dakota,” said Noem.

The company, headed by Robb Peterson, currently employs 15 people, but will add to that workforce – and soon add a third shift.

“We’ve signed a purchase agreement for a larger building in town and will be moving the entire operation,” Peterson told those gathered for Monday’s contract announcement. The new facility in Pheasant Ridge will be just over 30,000 sq. feet, compared to the 11,000 sq. feet that GLRP currently occupies.

GLRP has been producing rubber soles for Vibram’s outdoor and recreational shoes since it opened nearly one year ago in Watertown. In addition, GLRP also produces products for the automotive, industrial and ag markets.

With Monday’s announcement, GLRP will shift into high gear to meet the production demands.

“We need to get (the move) done before the snow flies,” Peterson told the crowd at the press conference, which included officials from Vibram, Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson, Watertown Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Megan Gruman and Craig Atkins, head of the Watertown Development Company.

“Of all the shoes sold in the United States, less than one and a half percent are made here in the United States,” said Bill Ellis, vice president of component sales for Vibram USA. “Watertown can be proud to be producing a product that helps support those who serve our country.”

The Glacial Lakes Rubber and Plastics plant features multi-line capability with the ability to manufacture a broad range of products, ranging from soles  for high-performance athletic shoes to mountain combat boots for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces.

Gionfriddo said the contract with GLRP will also fuel the local economy on many levels.

“Every box of soles shipped out of here is coming from a company right here in Watertown,” he said.

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Weekly Column: Fighting Diabetes with Research

2015/07/20

Earlier this month, I met Maddie.  Maddie is 14 years old and from Sioux Falls.  She’s an incredible singer and a dedicated dancer with dreams of appearing on Broadway someday.  And she, like 42,000 South Dakotans, lives with diabetes.

Maddie has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for half her life.  She was only seven when she was diagnosed.  Her parents had noticed a significant uptick in the amount of water Maddie was drinking, and even with the increased water intake, Maddie seemed dehydrated.  It turns out the dehydration came because her kidneys were working overtime and still couldn’t quite keep up.  It was a classic symptom of diabetes. 

Maddie has handled her diagnosis incredibly.  When she isn’t singing or dancing or acting, she’s advocating for increased diabetes research.  It was in her role as an advocate – a delegate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children’s Congress, in fact – that I had the chance to meet her.  Maddie told me that she hopes one day we can find a cure so kids like her don’t have to go through the needles and the poking and the feeling sick that she’s had to go through.

I was glad to tell her that Congress agreed and that we had made funding for diabetes research a priority.  Just this last March, we extended a special program for Type 1 diabetes research as part of H.R.2, which passed Congress and was signed into law by the President.  With more than 1.25 million Americans living with Type 1 Diabetes today – a reality that is costing the U.S. economy $245 billion annually – it’s important we do all we can to fight for a cure.

Just a few weeks ago, Gage – my 10-year-old nephew – was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes too.  His older brother Hunter had been diagnosed with it a few years back.  A few days after Gage got way home from the hospital in Sioux Falls where he learned how to give himself shots and test his blood, he told my sister-in-law: “If God is going to heal me or Hunter, I hope he heals Hunter.  He’s had diabetes a lot longer than me.”  It was an innocent phrase from an incredibly sweet and selfless boy, but I want so badly to be able to tell him one day that because of the incredible work of researchers, he and Hunter can both be healed. 

We have a long ways to go before Maddie, Gage, and Hunter can be cured of this disease, but I’m glad we are at least getting closer every day.

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Tribes push to end Affordable Care Act coverage requirement

2015/07/17

Representatives of several Indian tribes say they support legislation introduced by congressional Republicans this week that would exempt tribes nationwide from being classified as large employers under the federal Affordable Care Act - a designation that requires tribes to pay higher insurance costs or face federal penalties.

Supporters say requiring tribes to provide group insurance for tribal employees serves to shift the costs of implementing the Affordable Care Act from the federal government to the tribes. People who register for individual coverage under the act may qualify for federal tax credits, but that option’s not available to those who work for designated large employers.

Although Republicans have been struggling unsuccessfully to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act for years, the current effort to address the tribal large-employer requirement is remarkable so far for garnering significant Indian support.

In Montana alone, sponsors say they have the support of Crow, Blackfeet and Fort Peck Reservation’s Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. Those supporters say that federal penalties for failure to comply would reduce money available for essential tribal services.

The requirement for tribes that employ more than 50 employees to offer group insurance took effect Jan. 1. Individual Indians aren’t subject to tax penalties, as many other citizens are, if they fail to get individual coverage.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe in Rosebud, South Dakota, also issued a statement this week in support of the bill, saying they, too, can’t afford to comply with the federal law.

“It is a United States treaty obligation to provide health care for members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe,” Tribal President William Kindle and Treasurer Byron Wright stated.

Bill sponsor Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, issued a statement this week saying such unreasonable fines have the potential to kill reservation jobs and further cripple tribes’ economies. “It is critically important that our tribes and tribal employees aren’t penalized due to a hastily written law,” he said.

Co-sponsors in the Senate include Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, is sponsoring the bill in the House, where it’s co-sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-South Dakota.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper this month rejected a challenge from the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming to the large-employer insurance requirement. The judge found that determining the tribe qualifies as a large employer under the federal law doesn’t abrogate any rights guaranteed to it by treaty.

“If Congress wished to exempt Indian tribes from this mandate that otherwise might be reasonably construed as applying to them, it needed to do so explicitly,” Skavdahl wrote.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe employs roughly 1,000 workers at its casino and other government operations and previously had paid to help them cover individual insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Dean Goggles, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said Friday the pending bill offers a good way to cure the problem the tribe identified in its lawsuit.

The National Indian Health Board, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, represents tribal governments on health care issues and supports the legislation to exempt tribes from the large-employer mandate.

Caitrin McCarron Shuy, director of congressional relations for the Indian Health Board, said Friday that federal law as it stands now presents Indians with a contradiction.

“I think this is a really critical issue for the tribal community to have to provide health insurance for employees,” Shuy said. “Under the law, of course as a large employer, tribes are required to provide health insurance. But most of their employees are also their tribal members, are native people who are exempt from the individual mandate. Really the two provisions of this law work at cross purposes from achieving what it was intended.”

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Noem, Thune Announce Legislation to Protect Tribes from Costly Employer Mandate

2015/07/15

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), along with Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), today announced the introduction of legislation to protect Native American tribes from the Affordable Care Act’s costly employer mandate.  The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act, which was introduced today in the Senate and House, will exempt tribes and tribal employers from Obamacare’s employer mandate. This legislation would prevent massive fines that tribal employers would incur under Obamacare’s employer mandate.

“The employer mandate within the President’s health care law is unaffordable for South Dakota tribes.  Moreover, it is unnecessary, given the federal government already has the responsibility of providing healthcare for tribal members,” said Noem.  “Without the relief granted by the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act, tribal governments could be required to cut important services while tribally-owned businesses could be forced to cut jobs.  I’m hopeful this burden created by an ill-constructed law can soon be lifted.”

“While I believe all Americans should receive an exemption from Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, it seems illogical that Obamacare exempts members of federally recognized tribes from the individual mandate’s penalty, but requires tribal governments to comply with the law’s employer mandate,” said Thune. “In South Dakota, tribes often serve as the primary employer of their community members. This mandate would have a significant negative impact on tribes and tribal citizens by diverting much-needed valuable resources away from economic development and important programs toward this burdensome law.”

South Dakota’s Rosebud Sioux Tribe has endorsed the Tribal employment and Jobs Protection Act, saying: “Forced compliance with the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment provision … could prove to be financially devastating for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.  With over 800 employees, estimates show that compliance with this mandate could possibly cost the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in excess of six million dollars annually….  Passage of the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act will provide the Rosebud Sioux Tribe with relief from this financially debilitating provision of the Affordable Care Act.  The Rosebud Sioux Tribe fully supports and humbly requests support from members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate in passage of the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act.”  To view a fully copy of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe statement, please click here.

Additionally, National Indian Health Board Executive Director Stacy A. Bohlen said, “On behalf of the 567 federally-recognized Tribes we serve, I am excited to see this vital piece of legislation introduced.  The federal trust responsibility to the Tribes requires the federal government to provide healthcare for American Indians and Alaska Natives.  The Employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act is simply unaffordable for many Tribes who will cut essential government services to pay this obligation.  The employer mandate on Tribal employers contradicts not only the trust responsibility, but provisions in the Affordable Care Act which exempt American Indians and Alaska Natives from the individual mandate. Thank you to Senator Daines and Congresswoman Noem for introducing this critical bill.”

The legislation is also supported by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, which represents tribes in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa.  You may view their resolution here.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

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SD lawmakers call for Obamacare relief for tribes

2015/07/15

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), along with Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), today announced the introduction of legislation to protect Native American tribes from the Affordable Care Act’s costly employer mandate.  The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act, which was introduced today in the Senate and House, will exempt tribes and tribal employers from Obamacare’s employer mandate. This legislation would prevent massive fines that tribal employers would incur under Obamacare’s employer mandate.

“The employer mandate within the President’s health care law is unaffordable for South Dakota tribes.  Moreover, it is unnecessary, given the federal government already has the responsibility of providing healthcare for tribal members,” said Noem.  “Without the relief granted by the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act, tribal governments could be required to cut important services while tribally-owned businesses could be forced to cut jobs.  I’m hopeful this burden created by an ill-constructed law can soon be lifted.”

“While I believe all Americans should receive an exemption from Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, it seems illogical that Obamacare exempts members of federally recognized tribes from the individual mandate’s penalty, but requires tribal governments to comply with the law’s employer mandate,” said Thune. “In South Dakota, tribes often serve as the primary employer of their community members. This mandate would have a significant negative impact on tribes and tribal citizens by diverting much-needed valuable resources away from economic development and important programs toward this burdensome law.”

South Dakota’s Rosebud Sioux Tribe has endorsed the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act, saying:“Forced compliance with the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment provision … could prove to be financially devastating for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.  With over 800 employees, estimates show that compliance with this mandate could possibly cost the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in excess of six million dollars annually….  Passage of the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act will provide the Rosebud Sioux Tribe with relief from this financially debilitating provision of the Affordable Care Act.  The Rosebud Sioux Tribe fully supports and humbly requests support from members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate in passage of the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act.”  To view a fully copy of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe statement, please click here.

Additionally, National Indian Health Board Executive Director Stacy A. Bohlen said, “On behalf of the 567 federally-recognized Tribes we serve, I am excited to see this vital piece of legislation introduced.  The federal trust responsibility to the Tribes requires the federal government to provide healthcare for American Indians and Alaska Natives.  The Employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act is simply unaffordable for many Tribes who will cut essential government services to pay this obligation.  The employer mandate on Tribal employers contradicts not only the trust responsibility, but provisions in the Affordable Care Act which exempt American Indians and Alaska Natives from the individual mandate. Thank you to Senator Daines and Congresswoman Noem for introducing this critical bill.”

The legislation is also supported by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, which represents tribes in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa.  You may view their resolution here.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

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Letter: Noem deserves kudos for hatchery efforts

2015/07/12

This Journal reader was pleased to read the July 9 Journal story, "Noem working to protect hatchery." It told how Congresswoman Kristi Noem had an amendment to protect our Spearfish D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery and Archives added to an appropriations act.

Noem's action should help keep the Booth Hatchery open through fiscal year 2016. It was great to read Noem's words: "While I continue driving efforts to find a permanent solution for D.C. Booth, I'm hopeful this amendment will pave the way and ensure the economic and educational benefits offered by D.C. Booth are preserved long into the future." The article goes on to mention the huge numbers of folks who visit D.C. Booth and the valuable archives artifact collection at the hatchery.

I hope that all Journal readers will join me in thanking our Congresswoman Kristi Noem for her hard and valuable work for our D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery and Archives. It's great to know that Noem is working in Washington to help save D.C. Booth (which is so valuable economically and educationally) and is a treasured visiting place for so many South Dakota families.

— David Nickel, Spearfish

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Weekly Column: To End Poverty, Expand Opportunity

2015/07/10

More than 1,000 South Dakotans, including nearly 300 children, were homeless at some point last year, according to a recent report by the South Dakota Housing for the Homeless.  What is perhaps more shocking is that three of the five lowest-income counties in the country are located in our state.  For many impacted by poverty, it’s been a challenge that has been passed from one generation to the next.  I want to help end that cycle.

Fundamentally, any conversation about ending poverty must begin with a conversation about expanding opportunity. Too often, federal programs fail in this respect.  I believe they need to do more than just help folks avoid the worst hardships; they must also empower people to build a successful career.  Earlier this month, I took steps toward such a goal.

On July 7, I introduced legislation to help reform the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program – or TANF.  By definition, this is a program designed to help struggling families achieve self-sufficiency and financial independence, but it isn’t working and loopholes let some states get away with ineffective spending.

TANF requires states to make sure 50 percent of program recipients participate in work-related activities, such as working, searching for a job, or training for one.  If states spend more than the federal government requires, the 50 percent threshold can be decreased.  In extreme cases, it can be decreased to zero.  Therein lies the loophole.

Some states are counting third-party spending as “state spending” and driving their apparent investments to artificially high levels.  As a result, they don’t need as many TANF recipients to be engaged in work-related activities.  Of note, South Dakota does not game the system in this way; we now need other states to follow our example.

The practice completely dilutes the integrity of TANF by eliminating a key accountability measure.  No longer do states need to achieve what TANF was intended to accomplish in order to receive the federal dollars in full.

My bill simply stops states from counting third-party spending as their own.  States need to make the investment and they need to produce a good outcome.  We need this level of genuine accountability if we are to be successful.

My bill was introduced as part of a broader legislative package that aims to increase the employment of low-income families.  As part of the package, we also introduced more incentives for states to help people get a good job.  We give states more resources to be innovative in how they tackle poverty at home.  We create a clearinghouse for best practices, so good ideas can go farther. 

I firmly believe the best way out of poverty is a good job and that’s what these bills are intended to do.  In recent months, we’ve seen the national unemployment rate fall, but those numbers are deceiving because more and more people are dropping out of the workforce.  In fact, the portion of Americans engaged in the workforce today is lower than at any point since Jimmy Carter was president.  That lack of employment is reverberating throughout our economy and stopping us from moving beyond the recession.  The only way to break this cycle is to give folks more opportunities to rise up and out of poverty.

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Fish Hatchery is no longer in immediate danger of closing

2015/07/10

The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives is no longer in immediate danger of closing, but it remains under threat through the next fiscal year.

Representative Kristi Noem (R) helped pass the House version of the appropriations bill.

It stipulates no funding can be used to close the hatchery or move the archives from the facility.

The Senate needs to pass its version of the bill, but the two are likely proposing the same language.

"We are feeling very optimistic, much more so than we have in previous years,” said April Gregory, Executive Director of the Booth Society. “It's really great to have Noem, Thune, and Rounds fully on board and they are really fighting hard for us in D.C. and that's the most important thing."

Gregory says the best way to help is to write or call your senators and thank them for their support. You can also visit their website at www.dcboothfishhatchery.org

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Noem's amendment would protect Booth Fish Hatchery through fiscal 2016

2015/07/09

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously adopted an amendment, offered by U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., that would prohibit the use of funds to close the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery through fiscal 2016.

Noem had the amendment added to the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which is expected to be voted on by the House this week.

In a press release, Noem said that if the bill with the amendment is enacted, the hatchery would be protected temporarily.

“As one of the oldest fisheries in the country, the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery is a critical piece of living history. It’s disappointing to think we may lose it because of irresponsible bureaucratic decisions,” Noem said in the release.  “While I will continue driving efforts to find a permanent solution for D.C. Booth, I’m hopeful this amendment will pave the way and ensure the economic and educational benefits offered by D.C. Booth are preserved long into the future.”

More than 155,000 people visit the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish each year. The facility houses 175,000 artifacts that are open and accessible to the public and researchers from across the country.

Nonetheless, the Fish and Wildlife Service has submitted a proposal to move a portion of the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery Archives to the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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Noem Introduces Legislation to Help Combat Poverty, Promote Financial Independence

2015/07/09

Rep. Kristi Noem introduced H.R.2959, the TANF Accountability and Integrity Improvement Act, which aims to improve the outcomes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  This bill was introduced as part of a larger poverty-reduction package that was unveiled today.

“Any program aimed at ending poverty must fundamentally expand opportunity,” said Noem.  “Unfortunately, loopholes within TANF have diluted the program’s integrity and its effectiveness in helping struggling families move up and out of poverty.  By bringing genuine accountability back into the TANF program through H.R.2959, I’m hopeful we can improve outcomes and ensure more families achieve financial independence.”

TANF requires states to ensure 50% of program recipients participate in work-related activities, such as working, searching for a job, or training for one.  If states spend more than the federal government requires, the 50% threshold can be decreased.  In extreme cases, the threshold can be reduced to 0%. 

Some states are counting third-party spending as “state spending” and driving their apparent investments to artificially high levels.  As a result, those states don’t need as many TANF recipients to be engaged in work-related activities in order to continue receiving full federal funding.  Under H.R.2959, states could no longer count spending by third parties as state spending, meaning states would need to engage more adults in work-related activities in exchange for federal benefits, as the program was originally intended.

Of note, South Dakota does not count third-party spending as state spending in order to reduce the portion of TANF recipients engaged in work-related activities.

“We need to ensure other states follow South Dakota’s example,” continued Noem.  “By continuing to engage participants in work activities at the level intended, the state has upheld the integrity of the program and ensured the support we provide through TANF is support that really helps struggling families.”

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Noem Introduces Expansion to Poverty Program

2015/07/09

In an effort to enhance the fight against poverty, South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem has filed a bill that expands the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program.

She says her bill would have the rest of the nation follow South Dakota’s lead on this program.

Noem says that her bill will help get more impoverished Americans into the program and on their way to supporting themselves.

Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. She says states would be prevented from counting third party spending in their contribution amounts to the program and would make proposed changes within a three year period.

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Noem Drives Forward Amendment to Protect D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery

2015/07/08

Rep. Kristi Noem offered an amendment to the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act late last night to prohibit funds from being used to close the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery, effectively protecting the Spearfish facility from closure through FY2016 if enacted.  The House unanimously adopted the amendment and is expected to vote on passage later this week.

“As one of the oldest fisheries in the country, the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery is a critical piece of living history. It’s disappointing to think we may lose it because of irresponsible bureaucratic decisions,” said Noem.  “While I will continue driving efforts to find a permanent solution for D.C. Booth, I’m hopeful this amendment will pave the way and ensure the economic and educational benefits offered by D.C. Booth are preserved long into the future.”

More than 155,000 people visit the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish each year. The facility currently houses 175,000 artifacts that are open and accessible to the public and researchers from across the country.  Nonetheless, the Fish and Wildlife Service has submitted a proposal to move a portion of the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery Archives located at the Spearfish facility to the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

"D.C. Booth is a very unique hatchery in the fact that it houses the National Fish Hatchery System archive and serves as America’s gathering place for things related to our nation’s rich fisheries past,” said April Gregory, Executive Director of the Booth Society.  “We are incredibly grateful to Rep. Noem for recognizing this rich history and continuing to work to preserve our mission and facility for an additional year and into the future."

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Rep. Noem fights to save D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery

2015/07/08

There has been much talk for almost two years now about the possible future closure of the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery located in Spearfish, but Representative Kristi Noem is trying to prevent that from happening any time soon.

Tuesday, Noem offered an amendment to the Department of Interior,Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
The amendment would prohibit funds from being used to close the fish hatchery– protecting the Spearfish facility from closure through fiscal year 2016, if enacted.

Representative Kristi Noem said, "My amendment was accepted and voice voted into the Appropriations Bill. This will make sure that Fish and Wildlife doesn't use the dollars that they have in the next fiscal year to shut down the fishery, and make sure that it can still be utilized by the public and that those private dollars and volunteers can still participate to make sure that it is still enjoyable in the years to come."

The House unanimously adopted the amendment and is expected to vote on passage later this week.


Noem says they will continue to find a permanent solution.

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Weekly Column: Taking a Swing at Breast Cancer

2015/07/03

I have known Lynn Popham for a long time – more than two decades, I suppose.  We’ve spent hours together at ball games, rodeos, and our kids’ school events.  She’s an incredible mom to two young men, a hard worker, a trusted neighbor, and a tremendous asset to our community.  Last December, Lynn learned she had Stage 2 breast cancer.

This year alone, approximately 230,000 women are expected to learn that they too must fight breast cancer, according to the latest American Cancer Society data.  Just over 2,000 men will also have to battle the disease.  Each of these journeys will come with highs and lows, but I have to say that so far, Lynn has weathered her diagnosis and treatments with an unbelievably positive attitude.  While she has a ways to go in her journey with breast cancer, I believe her strength and perseverance for the first leg of the race deserves recognition.  This summer, I had the opportunity to give Lynn some of that well-deserved recognition. 

Each year, women in Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – join to play in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game against female members of the press corps.  We do it as a way to increase awareness about breast cancer and help raise funds for the Young Survival Coalition, an organization that supports the women who have been diagnosed and helps move us closer to a cure.  This year, I was proud to play in honor of Lynn.

Through events like this and the dedication of groups like the Young Survival Coalition, we have increased Americans’ awareness about breast cancer to historic levels.  One of the tangible benefits of that work has been an increase in the number of mammograms. In fact, while just 29 percent of women had gotten a mammogram in 1987, 67 percent of women had gotten one in 2010.  Lynn was one of those women.

The increase in mammography has helped more women detect their cancer early, which in turn has boosted survival rates.  The American College of Radiology reports that mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the United States by nearly one-third since 1990. 

As a result of early-detection efforts and stronger science, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today.  That’s incredible.  Please join me in taking a swing against breast cancer this summer.  Find a way to support women like Lynn and their families.  Put together an early detection plan for yourself – the National Breast Cancer Foundation has a tool that can help at www.earlydetectionplan.org.  Or support one of the many organizations fighting for a cure.  Together, we can beat breast cancer.

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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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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 Questions IRS Commissioner on IRS Targeting

2015-07-23 15:40:22


Noem Drives Forward Amendment to Protect D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery (KEVN)

2015-07-09 14:31:02


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


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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