Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Noem Staff to Hold Mobile Office Hours in Madison on March 31

2015/03/31

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem today announced that Andrew Curley of her Sioux Falls office will hold Mobile Office Hours in Madison on the morning of Tuesday, March 31.  If any Madison resident needs help with a federal agency or has comments they would like passed along to the Congresswoman, they may schedule an appointment with Curley by calling 275-2868.

While in Madison, Curley will also be holding meetings with community organizers and local businesses, as well as attending the Lake Area Improvement Corporation’s Annual Meeting.  To get immediate assistance, please contact Rep. Noem’s Sioux Falls office at 275-2868 or visit her website at www.noem.house.gov.

- TUESDAY, MARCH 31 -

WHAT: Noem Staff Hold Mobile Office Hours in Madison    
WHEN: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 – 9:00AM (CT) to 12:00PM (CT)
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT: Please call Andrew Curley at 275-2868
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Madison residents may meet with Andrew Curley of Rep. Noem’s Sioux Falls office to get help with a federal agency or pass on any concerns or comments they have for the Congresswoman.

Read More

Noem Urges USDA & HHS to Base Food Guidelines on Nutrition, Not an Environmental Agenda

2015/03/31

In a letter to the Secretaries of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Tuesday, Reps. Kristi Noem, Vicki Hartzler and more than 65 other Members of Congress urged the agencies to base upcoming food guidelines on nutrition factors, not an environmental agenda.  The congressional attention was sparked after the administration revealed it was taking a food’s carbon footprint into account when developing recommendations for new dietary guidelines – the first time such considerations have been made in U.S. history.

“The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Council has no business entering into environmental activism,” said Noem.  “The new environmentally friendly nutrition guidelines would largely leave meat – especially beef – out of what is considered to be a healthy dietary pattern.  This is not based on the work of nutritionists or epidemiologists, but the belief that the carbon footprint left by animals is too large.  It’s a misguided approach to nutrition that undermines the trust folks put into these recommendations.”

Every five years, USDA and HHS review the dietary guidelines for American food consumption. The new report recommends what should be included in the final dietary guidelines that will be issued later this year.  Once approved, the guidelines will be used as an educational tool and to help develop federal nutrition policy.  Today’s letter raises concerns that the report exceeds its Scope of Work by straying from purely nutritional evidence and venturing into areas like sustainability and tax policy.  It also highlights concerns that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Council, which is responsible for drafting the proposed guidelines, may have subjectively hand-picked data to support pre-determined conclusions when making dietary recommendations for the report.

“The USDA is currently accepting public comments on these new guidelines and I encourage you to participate,” continued Noem.  “Just visit www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines and submit a comment by midnight on April 8, 2015.”

Scroll down for a full copy of the letter.

--

March 31, 2015

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D.C.  20250

The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D.C.  20201

Dear Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell:

We are writing today to express our sincere disappointment with the recent report issued by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) and certain recommendations for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).  The DGA play a critical role as the scientific basis for federal nutrition policy development and form the basis of Federal nutrition policy, education, outreach, and food assistance programs used by consumers, industry, nutrition educators, and health professionals. Therefore, it is essential that the DGA be based on sound nutrition science and not stray into other areas outside of this specific discipline.

However, after reviewing the DGAC report that was released February 19, 2015, we believe that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee greatly exceeded their scope in developing recommendations for the Secretaries of USDA and HHS to the detriment of the American diet. It is the responsibility of the Secretaries to ensure that this advisory committee stay focused on nutritional recommendations and not the wider policy realm of sustainability and tax policy, in which members of this committee had neither expertise, evidence, nor charter.

We are disappointed with reports from observers that the approach of the 2015 DGAC suggests studies were either selected or excluded to support pre-determined conclusions.  For example, the DGAC’s recommendation on lean red meat directly contradicts years of peer reviewed scientific research on the benefits of lean red meat as a high quality source of protein in a healthy diet.  It is crucial for HHS and the USDA to recognize the need for flexibility in the American diet that reflects the diverse population of this country.

It is extremely difficult to reverse or change public policy, once enacted, without causing consumer confusion. Inaccurate and conflicting dietary guidance messages are detrimental to consumer understanding of nutrition and the ability to build healthy diets. At a time when consumers are already subjected to conflicting and often contradictory nutrition and health information, providing the public with science-based, realistic and achievable information is more likely to contribute to improved public health outcomes.

We encourage you to focus the development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines based on a “preponderance” of current scientific and medical knowledge and to ensure that the 2015 DGA are irrefutably science-based, consistent with advice from other federal agencies, and are communicated in terms easily understood by the public.

Read More

Weekly Column: Setting the Priorities

2015/03/27

One of my favorite authors, John Maxwell, wrote: “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”  On March 25, the House passed a reform-minded and conservative budget that will serve as an outline of where your tax dollars should be going – and to be clear, I believe more of those dollars should stay in your pockets.

The budget we passed was put together under one assumption:  The money being used to formulate this budget is not the federal government’s; it’s yours.  Therefore, we ought to spend every dime budgeted responsibly and respectfully – as if it was our own – free of waste, fraud, and abuse.

With that in mind, the House budget would eliminate $5.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, allowing us to balance the budget within the next decade.  Those are big cuts, but we have a big budget that has grown increasingly out of control and stands in the way of a healthy economy.  We need to create economic opportunity, achieve genuine accountability and make the bold choices that are necessary to get more control over this budget.

Unlike the President’s budget proposal, which calls for a $3.5 trillion tax hike without ever balancing, the House’s budget is balanced without raising taxes.  Rather than increasing your taxes, it begins to lay the groundwork for a fairer and simpler tax code that could lower your annual tax bill, enabling you to keep more of your hard-earned dollars at home instead of in Washington’s pockets.

While spending has been cut, we’ve continued to make investments in areas that the federal government has a legitimate responsibility to do so.  For instance, we increase defense spending above the President’s levels, ensuring our men and women in uniform have every piece of equipment and knowledge necessary to successfully take on threats from the Middle East and elsewhere. 

Conversely, in areas where control rightfully belongs in the hands of states or local communities, we introduce new limits on the federal government and even repeal programs that the federal government has no business managing, including the President’s health care law.

These are our priorities and this budget will serve as an outline for the House to follow as we fund the federal government for FY2016.  It’s an important mark to make.

Both the Senate and the President have put out their own budget proposals.  While the President’s budgets have always included higher spending and additional taxes or fees, the House has leveraged its conservative budgets time and again to get spending cuts for hardworking taxpayers.  Since I’ve been elected, we’ve been able to eliminate $165 billion in spending, which are the most significant reductions in modern history.  We’ve also enacted the largest deficit control bills since 1981 – with no new tax increases.  It’s progress, but we’ve got a long way to go to achieve a government that is effective, efficient and accountable.

Read More

Noem Votes to Strengthen Medicare with House Passage of Permanent "Doc Fix"

2015/03/26

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass a real and permanent fix to Medicare reimbursement rates, which have faced an imminent cliff nearly 20 times in the last 12 years. H.R.2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, is a bipartisan bill to strengthen Medicare for seniors, permanently replace the reimbursement rate, and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

“Both my mother and grandmother are on Medicare, so I understand the importance of ensuring patients have access to their doctors and the high-quality care they’ve earned,” said Noem.  “The Band-Aid fixes over the last 12 years have resulted in constant uncertainty for both the patients and the doctors and hospitals that serve them.  This bill finally provides a real solution that gives seniors peace of mind knowing they’ll continue to have access to the doctors they trust.”

H.R.2 seeks to strengthen Medicare by moving beyond the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) to reimburse those that serve Medicare patients.  Additionally, the bill makes fundamental structural reforms to Medicare, offsetting any new spending without tax increases.  Moreover, former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes the reforms “will continue to reap benefits in the years beyond the budget window,” estimating $230 billion in savings in the second decade alone. 

In addition to permanently correcting the SGR, H.R.2 extends CHIP, as Rep. Noem and her female House colleagues called for earlier this month

“CHIP serves more than 8 million children and expectant mothers at any given time,” continued Noem.  “I am very proud the House acted to extend CHIP long before its expiration date, giving new parents more certainty as they work to plan their family budgets and doctor visits in advance.”

Included in the package are provisions to help ensure better access to care in rural America.  More specifically, H.R.2 extends add-on payment for ground ambulance services in super-rural areas, increased inpatient hospital payment adjustment for low-volume hospitals, and the Indian Health Service’s special diabetes program through 2017.

The latest SGR extension expires on March 31, 2015.  With passage in the House, the bipartisan legislation will head to the U.S. Senate.

Read More

US House passes budget proposal

2015/03/25

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass a budget that balances within 10 years without any new tax increases.  More specifically, the budget blueprint includes $5.5 trillion in spending reductions over the next decade.

“The budget I supported today was put together under one assumption: The money being used to formulate it is not the federal government’s; it’s the people’s,” said Noem.  “With that in mind, the House budget would eliminate $5.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, allowing us to balance the budget in that time. Those are big cuts, but that’s what’s necessary to create economic opportunity, achieve genuine accountability and make the bold choices that are necessary to get more control over this budget.”

Noem continued: “While spending has been cut, we’ve continued to make investments in areas that the federal government has a legitimate responsibility to do so, like defense. Conversely, in areas where control rightfully belongs in the hands of states or local communities, we introduce new limits on the federal government and even repeal programs that the federal government has no business managing, including the President’s health care law.”

This budget will now act as a blueprint for the House to follow as it begins work on FY2016 appropriations bills that fund the federal government.  

Read More

House Panel Passes Bill Banning IRS From Using Private Email

2015/03/25

IRS workers would be prohibited from using private email to conduct official business under a bipartisan bill passed Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee.

The issue gained attention following revelations that Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush used personal email addresses to conduct government business. Both are potential candidates for president in 2016.

"Events over the past month underscore the need to maintain transparent record-keeping procedures for executive branch employees," said Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill. "IRS personnel should never use personal email addresses when conducting official government businesses, especially those who routinely handle sensitive taxpayer information."

The bill was one of several passed by the committee that came from the panel's investigation into the way the IRS treated conservative political groups when they applied for tax-exempt status. All the IRS bills had broad bipartisan support.

Separately, the panel voted along party lines to pass a bill that would repeal the federal estate tax, a highly political issue that affects less than 1 percent of estates.

Among the IRS bills, one would enact a taxpayer bill of rights and another would streamline the process for social welfare organizations to apply for tax-exempt status. One bill would protect people who donate to tax-exempt groups from later being forced to pay gift taxes.

In 2013, the IRS acknowledged that agents had improperly singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections. The Justice Department and several committees in Congress launched investigations.

Ways and Means investigators said several IRS workers sent confidential taxpayer information to personal email accounts. Among them was former IRS official Lois Lerner, a central figure in the committee's investigation.

Lerner, who has retired, headed the division that processed applications for tax-exempt status.

IRS policy already prohibits workers from using a personal email account to transmit confidential taxpayer information. The bill would make the policy law.

The use of personal email accounts by government officials became a hot issue after it was disclosed that Clinton used one to conduct government business while she was secretary of state. Clinton has turned over thousands of emails to the State Department, which is reviewing them before it makes them public.

Bush also used a private email when he was governor of Florida. Bush has posted online more than 275,000 emails from his two terms in office.

The Ways and Means Committee passed the email bill and six others on unrecorded voice votes, with support from both Republicans and Democrats. The House is expected to take up the bills after Congress returns from its spring break vacation in April.

The bill repealing the estate tax was much more partisan, sparking a passionate and sometimes personal debate.

Republicans said repealing the estate tax would help farmers and small business owners keep their businesses in the family. Democrats said the estate tax hits only the very wealthy.

Few estates pay the 40 percent tax because there are large exemptions. For individuals, estates as large as $5.4 million are exempt. Married couples can exempt up to $10.9 million.

A total of 4,687 estates paid the tax in 2013, out of nearly 2.6 million deaths, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

Repealing the tax would add $269 billion to the federal budget deficit over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., said the estate tax helps to limit large concentrations of wealth.

"The principle here is not to create a permanent aristocracy," Neal said.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said some farmers may have valuable land but little money in the bank to pay the tax.

Noem told how her father died when she was in college. She said her family had to take out a loan to pay the estate taxes on their family farm.

"They may have equity by they don't have dollars in the bank," Noem said. "I know it because I lived with it."

The committee passed the bill by a vote of 22-10, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats who voted opposed. The bill now goes to the full House, where it is likely to pass.

The bill's fate is uncertain in the Senate.

Read More

House Approves Balanced Budget with Noem Support

2015/03/25

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass a budget that balances within 10 years without any new tax increases.  More specifically, the budget blueprint includes $5.5 trillion in spending reductions over the next decade.

“The budget I supported today was put together under one assumption: The money being used to formulate it is not the federal government’s; it’s the people’s,” said Noem.  “With that in mind, the House budget would eliminate $5.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, allowing us to balance the budget in that time. Those are big cuts, but that’s what’s necessary to create economic opportunity, achieve genuine accountability and make the bold choices that are necessary to get more control over this budget.”

Noem continued: “While spending has been cut, we’ve continued to make investments in areas that the federal government has a legitimate responsibility to do so, like defense. Conversely, in areas where control rightfully belongs in the hands of states or local communities, we introduce new limits on the federal government and even repeal programs that the federal government has no business managing, including the President’s health care law.”

This budget will now act as a blueprint for the House to follow as it begins work on FY2016 appropriations bills that fund the federal government.  

Read More

Noem, Cramer, Zinke Offer Bill to Preserve Access to Rural Health Care

2015/03/25

Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Ryan Zinke (R-MT) today introduced legislation to better preserve health care services in rural communities.  The Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services (PARTS) Act would ensure patients in rural America have access to a full range of outpatient therapeutic services in their own community’s hospital.

“Expecting a Critical Access Hospital in rural South Dakota to adhere to the same bureaucratic requirements as a large facility in Chicago or New York is unreasonable and limits the kind of care smaller hospitals can provide,” said Noem. “Rural hospitals need more flexibility to provide a full range of services to their communities. The PARTS Act offers a real solution to the flexibility problem, while preserving the quality of care patients deserve to receive.”

“One size fits all federal regulations for Critical Access Hospitals do not work in rural America,” said Cramer.  “We do not have enough doctors to provide on-the-spot, direct supervision of medical care.  This care is routinely done by other qualified health care professionals.  The PARTS Act empowers rural health care professionals to provide high quality health care through regulatory reforms adapted to suit the challenges of working in rural America.”

“If ObamaCare has taught us anything, it’s that a one-size-fits-all model does not work, especially in health care,” said Zinke. “Access to high-quality care is critical for everyone; but in rural America, the challenges patients face accessing care are different than they are in the inner city. I’m proud to introduce the PARTS Act because it will lead to Montanans receiving better care and it helps rural health care facilities provide a wide range of services to patients in a safe and professional manner.”

Services like pulmonary rehabilitation, certain behavior health assessments and counseling, demonstrating/evaluating the use of an inhaler or nebulizer, and certain casting/splinting procedures are considered “outpatient therapeutic services.”  These kind of services have always been administered by licensed, skilled professionals under the overall direction of a physician. 

In 2009, CMS began requiring that outpatient therapeutic services must be done under the “direct supervision” of a physician, meaning the physician must be physically present in the department at all times when a Medicare beneficiary receives an outpatient therapeutic service.  CMS loosened the regulations slightly in years since by allowing the “direct supervision” to be done by a non-physician practitioner, such as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or physician assistant.  Nonetheless, CMS still requires these individuals to be “immediately available” at all times when services are being administered.

While the need for this “direct supervision” is recognized for certain high-risk or complex outpatient services, CMS’ policy often applies to low-risk services as well, such as medical injections. The PARTS Act, which was also introduced by Sens. Moran, Tester and Thune in the Senate, would:

  • Require the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow a default setting of general supervision, rather than direct supervision, for outpatient therapeutic services;
  • Create an advisory panel to establish an exceptions process for risky and complex outpatient services;
  • Create a special rule for CAHs that recognizes their unique size and Medicare conditions of participation; and
  •  Hold hospitals and CAHs harmless from civil or criminal action for failing to meet CMS' current direct supervision policy for the period 2001 through 2016.
Read More

Noem Helps Move Death Tax Repeal Forward in the House

2015/03/25

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped pass a repeal of the death tax out of the House Ways and Means Committee, enabling the legislation to be voted on by the full House later this year.  Noem, whose family farm was hit by the death tax after her father passed away, has been a vocal supporter of its repeal.

“When my father died unexpectedly, our family was hit with the death tax,” said Noem.  “We made the decision to take out a loan, so we didn’t have to sell our land and potentially lose the farm.  The decision impacted nearly every financial choice we made for a decade.  No family should have to go through something like that.  I am committed to repealing this unjust – and frankly, immoral – tax that hurts small businesses and family farms most.  Today marks a step forward toward a time where hard work is respected and death is no longer a taxable event.”

Rep. Noem joined Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) in introducing H.R.1105, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, on February 26, 2015.  The bill fully repeals the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes – more commonly known as the “death tax.” With approval from the House Ways and Means Committee, of which Noem is a member, the legislation will next receive consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives. 

Watch Rep. Noem’s Compelling Arguments for Repealing the Death Tax Read More

FAA gives Air Force training complex final approval

2015/03/24

It's been in the works for years, and now the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex finally has its final approval.

The announcement came Tuesday that the FAA has signed off on the plan
The expansion brings the size of the training ground over North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana to nearly 35,000 square miles, making it the largest training airspace over the continental U–S.

The airspace will be used by B–1 bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and B–52 bombers at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Sen. John Thune says, "The expansion will allow multiple B–1's from Ellsworth to train together right here at home and to permit large force exercises for up to ten days per year, bringing together aircraft from all across the country to train right here in South Dakota and adjoining states."

In a release, Senator Mike Rounds says the project solidified the critical role Ellsworth plays and will continue to play in military readiness and national defense.

Representative Kristi Noem says the expansion offers both national security benefits and saves money in fuel costs.
Critics say the bombers will disrupt rural communities and businesses, and scare livestock.

Read More

SD Delegation reacts to Powder River expansion

2015/03/24

Rep. Kristi Noem today applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) final approval of the Air Force’s plan to expand the Powder River Training Complex.  With this announcement, the airspace would become effective on September 17, 2015, after FAA has published the necessary airspace charts.

“Our B-1’s are serving a mission-critical role as the United States takes on ISIL and other major threats.  The airmen flying those bombers and other military aircraft ought to have a training complex that can sufficiently prepare them for success in the field. I’m confident the expanded Powder River Training Complex will accomplish that,” said Noem.  “Not only does the expansion offer tremendous national security benefits, it protects hardworking taxpayers with $23 million in fuel savings for the Air Force every year.  I’m beyond pleased that after all these years we can close this deal and open new airspace to train our men and women in uniform.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement that it has approved the Air Force’s proposed expansion of the Powder River Training Complex (PRTC). PRTC encompasses air space over South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. This is the last step in the expansion process.

“I commend the collaborative efforts of the Air Force and the FAA, who have worked diligently to see this important project through,” said Rounds. “The expansion of PRTC will not only provide additional air space for our men and women in uniform to train for combat, it will save Ellsworth Air Force Base millions of dollars a year in fuel costs. Completion of the project solidifies the critical role Ellsworth plays – and will continue to play – in military readiness and national defense.”

Read More

Noem Introduces Legislation Preventing Long-Eared Bat From Endangered Species Act

2015/03/24

South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced legislation to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. South Dakota Senator John Thune introduced the language in the Senate earlier this year.

“It’s widely understood that the long-eared bat’s depopulation is not due to habitat changes, but white-nose syndrome,” said Noem. “Focusing on habitat, as the Fish and Wildlife Service proposal and corresponding guidance does, pulls critical and limited resources from the real threats facing the long-eared bat, while also endangering more than 1,500 jobs in the Black Hills area. Any effort to preserve the species must focus on the disease, not on fulfilling an unproven environmental agenda that could jeopardize South Dakota jobs and turn parts of the Black Hills into a tinder box.”

Listing the long-eared bat as endangered and pursuing regulatory restrictions on forest management could effectively end active management in the Black Hills National Forest, which will cause declining forest health, increase the likelihood of large-scale wildfires, and severely impact the timber industry in the Black Hills. On October 14, 2014, Noem and Thune sent a letter to the FWS encouraging the agency to withdraw its proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat as endangered and to refocus its attention on combating white-nose syndrome.

Read More

State Lawmakers Comment on Five-Year Anniversary of Obamacare

2015/03/24

South Dakota’s congressional delegation commented on the five-year anniversary of Obamacare.
 
U.S. Senator John Thune issued a statement on the progression of the measure. "Obamacare is hamstringing America’s small businesses - our engines of economic growth - and their ability to hire more people and grow," said Thune.
 
U.S. Senator Mike Rounds joined fellow freshman members of the Senate, saying they want to pass a budget resolution that provides tools that would impact the implementation of health care and how money at the federal level is being spent.
 
U.S. Representative Kristi Noem said that the president's health care law has had real consequences on the hard working people of South Dakota.

From losing preferred doctors and health insurances plans to the many glitches with the system itself, Noem said South Dakotans deserve better. She wants to see a stronger, patient-centered solution, which puts people in charge of their own health care. 

Read More

Noem Introduces Legislation to Prevent FWS from Listing Long-Eared Bat as an Endangered Species

2015/03/24

Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced legislation to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from listing the long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.  Senator Thune introduced the language in the Senate earlier this year.

“It’s widely understood that the long-eared bat’s depopulation is not due to habitat changes, but white-nose syndrome,” said Rep. Noem.  “Focusing on habitat, as the Fish and Wildlife Service proposal and corresponding guidance does, pulls critical and limited resources from the real threats facing the long-eared bat, while also endangering more than 1,500 jobs in the Black Hills area.  Any effort to preserve the species must focus on the disease, not on fulfilling an unproven environmental agenda that could jeopardize South Dakota jobs and turn parts of the Black Hills into a tinder box.”

Listing the long-eared bat as endangered and pursuing regulatory restrictions on forest management could effectively end active management in the Black Hills National Forest, which will cause declining forest health, increase the likelihood of large-scale wildfires, and severely impact the timber industry in the Black Hills. On October 14, 2014, Rep. Noem and Sen. Thune sent a letter to the FWS encouraging the agency to withdraw its proposed listing of the northern long-eared bat as endangered and to refocus its attention on combating white-nose syndrome. 

Read More

Final Approval of Powder River Expansion Boosts National Security and Protects Taxpayers, Says Noem

2015/03/24

Rep. Kristi Noem today applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) final approval of the Air Force’s plan to expand the Powder River Training Complex.  With this announcement, the airspace would become effective on September 17, 2015, after FAA has published the necessary airspace charts.

“Our B-1’s are serving a mission-critical role as the United States takes on ISIL and other major threats.  The airmen flying those bombers and other military aircraft ought to have a training complex that can sufficiently prepare them for success in the field. I’m confident the expanded Powder River Training Complex will accomplish that,” said Noem.  “Not only does the expansion offer tremendous national security benefits, it protects hardworking taxpayers with $23 million in fuel savings for the Air Force every year.  I’m beyond pleased that after all these years we can close this deal and open new airspace to train our men and women in uniform.”

Read More

Pursuit of a Patient-Centered Health Care System Continues, Says Noem

2015/03/23

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (SD-AL) today issued the following statement to mark five years since the President’s health care law was enacted.

“The consequences of the President’s health care law have become all too real in the lives of hardworking South Dakotans,” said Noem.  “Some South Dakotans have seen their financial independence jeopardized.  Others have lost access to their preferred doctors and health insurance plans.  Still others have gotten caught in the confusion of the policy and its many glitches.  South Dakotans deserve better, which is why I’m pursuing a stronger, patient-centered solution.  You ought to be in control of your health care and the President’s health care law fundamentally fails to accomplish that.  Now is the time to replace it.”

Read More

Weekly Column: Serving Up Some Commonsense

2015/03/20

Between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 school years, 1.2 million kids dropped out of the federal school lunch program.  It was the first decline we’d seen in over a decade.  According to the Government Accountability Office – a nonpartisan agency that serves as a watchdog over taxpayer-funded programs – the decline was largely due to challenges with the “palatability” of the food being served and the implementation costs of new federal mandates.  Despite falling participation, the federal government wants to go even further.

As is true for any parent, I want nothing more than my kids to be healthy and happy.  I make sure the meals they get at home are nutritious and I expect the same when they go through the lunch line at school.  But what the federal government has done to school lunches doesn’t work.  It pushes every child into a one-size-fits-all mold, tying the hands of those who are closest to our kids and empowering bureaucrats in Washington to dictate what goes on the tray.

These bureaucrats clearly aren’t cooks.  Schools are struggling to get a pasta that holds together under the new whole-grain requirements.  Tortillas and many breads are out of the question too.  The ultra-low sodium levels, which are to be implemented soon, could push items like milk and cheese off the plate, because these foods have naturally occurring sodium. 

The federal government has kicked commonsense out the window with these requirements because they think people in D.C. know better than a parent, local nutritionist, or school administrator.   That’s a problem.

What’s worse is that schools are breaking the bank trying to pay for the new requirements.  I’ve heard from many schools that are being forced to pull dollars from the general fund in order to cover school meal costs.  For many districts, that’s money that could have gone toward the school’s instructional programs.  That should not happen.

We need to give our local schools more flexibility on these requirements.  Earlier this month, I introduced the Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act.  This bill takes aim at the overly restrictive whole grain and sodium requirements while also giving administrators more flexibility on the rules that have increased their costs.

I believe everyone in this debate has the same goal: To serve our kids healthy meals at school.  But if schools have to divert scarce education dollars to comply with federal mandates that insist upon serving foods kids won’t eat anyways, we have to reassess the program.  That’s the point we’re at now.

We need to give control back to the people who are closest to the students, because our kids deserve better than a lunch designed by bureaucrats.

Read More

Noem plan would relax school food requirements

2015/03/20

Whole-grain taco shells aren't always a favorite for Harrisburg students, and new legislation in Washington, D.C., might save them from what Chris Beach described as "brown" tortillas.

Pleasing student appetites can be tough for school cafeterias because of strict federal health guidelines, said Beach, nutrition services director for the Harrisburg School District. Beach likes parts of a new proposal in Congress that would ease some of rules his cafeterias have to follow when it comes to setting the menu.

"They're having difficulty just sourcing products," Beach said. "And the other problem is just finding food that is palatable for the students."

South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem introduced a bill this week to push back against school food regulations, gradually rolled out in recent years with support from the White House.

Since 2010's Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act, schools across the United States have been forced to tweak menus. Cafeterias must now meet lower sodium and calorie limits, force students to take a daily fruit or vegetable and make sure all grain offerings are whole-grain rich.

Noem, a Republican, blames the healthier food overhauls for putting a strain on school lunch budgets.

"They're trying to figure out ways to feed our kids; give them the healthy meals they have always gotten," Noem said. "And still try to comply with these government regulations, which has been overly burdensome for them."

Noem proposed a similar measure in 2013. A new version would block the ability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to "implement, administer, or enforce" some of the established guidelines for calories, grains or meat.

It also would restrict the federal department from implementing "any new rule or regulation that establishes a maximum calorie limit or maximum quantity of grains, meat, or meat alternatives for the school lunch program," according to the bill.

Beach likes the fact that every student takes a fruit and vegetable with their lunch, even though he sees some food getting tossed. But the 100 percent whole-grain rich requirement and looming sodium limits are more problematic for schools, Beach said.

Easing those guidelines, "would really help a lot of the school districts across the state," Beach said.

A national organization of school nutritionists has come out against some of the rules. Sodium limits are scheduled be lowered again in 2017, taking some milks, cheeses and meat off of the lunch line because of naturally occurring sodium, according to the School Nutrition Association.

The association criticized the USDA's sodium requirements in a position paper this year and also asked the federal government to relax its rules on whole grains. A 2012 requirement that half of all grains be whole-grain rich allows for more palatable options for students, according to the SNA.

Noem's bill also would cover both of the association's demands.

"What they have set forward in regulations is unachievable by our school districts," Noem said. "Something that simply doesn't work when you're trying to cook for hundreds of kids."

Read More

Noem Introduces Legislation Offering More Flexibility for Local School Meal Programs

2015/03/19

Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced legislation that aims to reduce federal mandates on school meal standards, including the more stringent whole grain requirements that went into effect in July 2014 and the Target 2 sodium requirements set to be implemented in the coming years.

“As a parent, I want nothing more than for my kids to grow up happy and healthy,” said Rep. Noem.  “Unfortunately, current school meal requirements push all kids – and all schools – into a one-size-fits-all model.  The declining number of kids in the school lunch program shows that it’s not working.  Our kids deserve better.  They deserve a school meal program that is rooted in science-based nutrition plans – a program that includes food that they’re actually going to eat.  My bill gives schools the flexibility to accomplish that.”

Rep. Noem introduced her initial Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act in December 2013.  The latest version of the bill includes new provisions to address concerns with the Target 2 sodium levels and whole grain requirements.

“Everyone in this debate shares a common goal.  We want our kids to be served healthy and nutritious foods through the school lunch program,” said Neil Putnam, a member of the Mitchell School Board and the Western Region Director for the National School Board Association.  “The  issue comes when federal mandates sometimes divert scarce financial resources from a school’s instructional program.  I am grateful to Rep. Noem for introducing legislation that maintains the goal of healthy meals, but does it in a way that gives school districts, like Mitchell, the flexibility and affordability to make decisions on the local level that are best for our students’ overall success.”

The Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act, which has been endorsed by the National School Board Association and the School Superintendents Association, would:

  • Allow schools to maintain the previous whole grain requirements.  Without this change, 100 percent of the grains that schools would be required to serve students would be whole-grain rich, pushing items like tortillas and pasta largely off the menu.  Rep. Noem’s bill would restore the requirement back to 50 percent, meaning at least half of the grains served would be required to be whole-grain rich.
  • Maintain Target 1 sodium requirements.  Absent a change, schools would have a difficult time serving healthy foods that include milk, cheese, meat and other foods with naturally occurring sodium.
  • Give administrators flexibility on some of the rules that have increased costs for school districts, including the school breakfast program, a la carte options, and school lunch price increases.
  • Make the USDA’s easing of the meat and grain requirements permanent through law, rather than regulations.  This would give certainty to schools that they’ll be allowed more flexibility in serving meats and grains while still staying within calorie maximums.
Read More

House bill takes aim at school lunch rules

2015/03/19

House Republican Kristi Noem (S.D.) has introduced legislation that would relax the school lunch rules supported by first lady Michelle Obama.

The Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act, unveiled Thursday, would allow schools to stick with previous whole grain requirements, which require at least half of all grains served in a school breakfast and lunch to be whole. The new standard is 100 percent whole grain, which could rule out tortillas and pasta.

“As a parent, I want nothing more than for my kids to grow up happy and healthy,” Noem said in a statement. “Unfortunately, current school meal requirements push all kids — and all schools — into a one-size-fits-all model.”

Noem unveiled the bill about two weeks after Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced similar legislation in the upper chamber.

In addition to easing whole grain requirements, Noem's bill would ease sodium restrictions, give school administrators flexibility on some of the rules that have increased costs, including the school breakfast program, a la carte options, and school lunch price increases, and make USDA’s easing of the meat and grain requirements permanent.

The bill is the latest salvo in a battle between the Obama administration and the new GOP-led Congress, which will consider reauthorizing the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 this year.

Republican critics say the healthier meals  — a central component of the first lady’s "Let’s Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity— are driving up costs for schools because fewer students are participating in lunch programs.

“The declining number of kids in the school lunch program shows that it’s not working,” Noem said in the release. “Our kids deserve better. They deserve a school meal program that is rooted in science-based nutrition plans — a program that includes food that they’re actually going to eat.”

Read More

Loading legislation ... one moment please
Loading votes ... one moment please

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.


Serving With

Recent Videos