Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Noem Moves to Create Drug Testing Program for IHS Employees

2017/06/28

Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced the Drug-Free Indian Health Service Act, which would implement a mandatory random drug testing program for employees of the Indian Health Service (IHS).  Among many reports of mismanagement, there have been repeated instances in which health care providers and administrators at IHS facilities were under the influence of drugs while on the job.

“There is absolutely no excuse for IHS employees that provide health care while under the influence of drugs,” said Noem.  “The IHS has understood this was a challenge for nearly a decade and still failed to take the meaningful action required to ensure the sobriety of their on-duty employees. We need to raise the standards, which is something the Drug-Free Indian Health Service Act aims to do in a very targeted and accountable way.”

The Drug-Free Indian Health Service Act, would implement a mandatory random drug testing program for part- or full-time IHS employees who provide health care or administrative services to patients.  If an employee is found to have engaged in illegal drug use, that employee may be prohibited from performing any service, referred to a rehabilitation program, or fired.

This legislation is part of Noem’s ongoing efforts to fundamentally reform the IHS.  Earlier this year, she introduced the Restoring Accountability in the IHS Act, which offers a series of reforms to address both medical and administrative challenges. 

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Trump Administration Right to Propose Repeal of Obama-era WOTUS Rules, says Noem

2017/06/27

Rep. Kristi Noem today applauded the Trump administration for formally proposing a withdrawal of the controversial Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

“Under the Obama-era WOTUS rules, treating your lawn for mosquitos, putting up a fence in your backyard, or spraying your crops could become federally regulated activities that carry substantial fines if violations occur – knowingly or unknowingly. The Trump administration is right to propose a repeal,” said Noem.

As finalized by the Obama administration, the WOTUS rule could greatly expand the federal government’s control over small and seasonal bodies of water throughout South Dakota and the country.  Estimates show that if a landowner falls out of compliance, penalties could cost more than $30,000 per violation, per day.

In May 2015, Noem helped the U.S. House of Representatives pass the bipartisan H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which would send the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers back to the drawing board on the WOTUS rule.  Months later, a federal appellate court temporarily suspended the nationwide implementation of the WOTUS rule, a suspension that holds today.

In January 2016, Noem joined the House in passing legislation disapproving the rule.  President Obama later vetoed the bill.  Watch Noem discuss this legislation.

In February 2017, Noem joined more than 35 Members of Congress in a letter to President Trump, urging the administration to take action to repeal WOTUS.

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Weekly Column: Peace and Security

2017/06/23

You can hardly open the paper, turn on the TV, or scroll through your social media newsfeed without learning of another outbreak of domestic or international violence. So often, radical Islamic terrorists and other menacing groups thrive in conflict-rich areas of the globe, making it necessary in some cases to mitigate instability and promote peace to strengthen our own security.  

Research covering conflicts from Northern Ireland to Africa has shown that peace agreements are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years when women are involved in the negotiations. The added success can be contributed to many factors – not the least of which is that women are impacted by conflict in different ways than men, so their involvement in peace talks allows for a more comprehensive approach.

In many war-torn countries, for instance, women control large segments of the economy.  While their husbands, sons and brothers are taking up arms, women take on the responsibility of running the local markets and educating their children. This gives them a significant stake in the economy and an active role in shaping the next generation. The insight can be invaluable.

At the same time, data show when women are left behind, the chance of conflict increases. Take Syria, as an example. It’s one of the world’s most war-torn countries. Women there face incredible restrictions on where they may go without a man accompanying them. In many communities, only men can be a child’s legal guardian and marriages are allowed for girls as young as 13. As the nation’s conflict deepened, restrictions on women grew – and the situation only worsened when terrorist groups crept into the areas of greatest instability. For instance, ISIL, which has claimed significant amounts of territory within Syria, uses human trafficking and sex slavery as an income-generating business for their terrorist activities.  

When women are empowered, however, we observe different results.  In fact, a study by Inclusive Security found “when 35 percent of parliamentarians are women, the risk of relapse into conflict is near zero.”

Despite knowing all this, women are often underrepresented in conflict prevention and resolution.  

Bringing women to the table during peace negotiations won’t solve every conflict, nor will it unilaterally eliminate the threat of terrorism.  But our military and diplomatic corps, which are second to none, should have as many tools as possible at their disposal to mitigate conflict and keep America safe.

This June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women, Peace, and Security Act, which I authored.  This bipartisan bill would require leaders within the State and Defense departments to develop a comprehensive strategy that increases and strengthens women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention globally.  Through the meaningful congressional oversight this legislation outlines, we can help ensure women gain a critical seat at the negotiating table, increasing the opportunity for lasting peace and further strengthening America’s security. Read More

Noem: USDA's Opening of CRP Acres Gives Ranchers Needed Options

2017/06/23

Rep. Kristi Noem today issued the following statement after the USDA announced it would open South Dakota CRP acres for grazing in areas categorized as D2 (severe drought) or D3 (extreme drought) until September 30, 2017. The announcement came after a personal request from Noem to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to grant additional flexibility.

“The continuing and deepening drought is affecting ranchers’ every decision,” said Noem.  “With many already forced to downsize their herds due to inadequate access to feed, it was imperative the USDA move quickly to provide relief.  I am grateful to Secretary Perdue for following through on my calls for greater access to CRP and for his commitment to the needs of South Dakota ranchers. I’m hopeful this decision gives them more options at a time when help is much needed.”

In addition to CRP access, ranchers in six South Dakota counties that are in extreme drought were granted access to the Livestock Forage Program (LFP).  Ranchers in Campbell, Dewey, Walworth, Potter, McPherson, and Edmunds are eligible for three months of LFP payments.

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Noem Urges USDA to Act Quickly in Delivering Livestock Forage Program Relief

2017/06/22

Rep. Kristi Noem today issued the following statement after the U.S. Drought Monitor indicated six South Dakota counties had been categorized as D3 (extreme drought), triggering the Livestock Forage Program (LFP).  Ranchers in Campbell, Dewey, Walworth, Potter, McPherson, and Edmunds are eligible for three months of LFP payments. 

“This year’s drought conditions have led to extremely poor grass growth, resulting in feed shortages and limited grazing,” said Noem.  “Ranchers are being forced to sell yearlings and cow-calf pairs just to make ends meet.  It’s because of years like this that I fought so hard to preserve the Livestock Forage Program during the 2014 Farm Bill debate and why I’ll continue to do so as we prepare for the next Farm Bill.  With LFP now triggered, I urge the USDA to act quickly to provide producers relief.” 

Noem has also urged USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to immediately release all South Dakota CRP acres for haying.

Noem served on the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee, which negotiated the Livestock Disaster Programs.  The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized and strengthened the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP).

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Debate Begins on Noem's IHS Reform Bill

2017/06/21

Rep. Kristi Noem today offered testimony on H.R.2662, the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act, as the House Natural Resources Committee began its consideration of the legislation. The testimony comes as senior staff from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) travel to South Dakota to visit the IHS hospital at Pine Ridge. Noem requested leadership from HHS during a House Ways & Means Committee hearing earlier this month and has been pleased to see this proactive visit occur so quickly.

“While some progress has been made in addressing the health care crisis in Indian Country, it’s nowhere near enough,” said Noem.  “It’s no exaggeration to say that reforming the IHS is a life or death issue, making it critical reforms are done correctly. Not only does this IHS reform legislation offer better tools for recruiting competent staff and improving care standards, but we introduce a new level of accountability to ensure the agency is properly serving tribal communities.”

For years, federal reports have documented shocking cases of mismanagement and poorly delivered care at Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities.  The IHS was left to make improvements on its own, but despite funding increases almost every year, the agency produced increasingly poor care.  

The Restoring Accountability in the IHS Act offers a series of reforms to the IHS, addressing both medical and administrative challenges.  More specifically, the legislation: 

Offers Better Tools for Recruiting Competent Medical Staff and Leadership

  • Provides incentives to health care professionals to serve in the IHS, including pay flexibility and relocation reimbursements when employees move to high-need areas, as well as a housing voucher program for rental assistance to employees.
  • Allows managers to be eligible for the IHS student loan repayment program to incentivize more competent managers to join the agency.
  • Provides flexibility for the IHS in hiring and firing.
  • Makes volunteering at IHS facilities easier by providing liability protections for medical professionals who want to volunteer at IHS hospitals or service units and centralizing the agency’s medical credentialing system.

Improves Patient Care Standards

  • Requires the IHS to develop standards to measure wait times.
  • Requires IHS employees to attend culture training annually that teaches them about the tribe(s) they serve.

Increases Accountability

  • Enhances fiscal accountability by ensuring reports and plans are completed in a timely manner. Failure to comply with the requirements will restrict the IHS' ability to provide salary increases and bonuses.
  • Increases congressional oversight by requiring reports that assess staffing needs, existing protections against whistleblowers, and the frequency and causes of patient harm events.
  • Reiterates IHS employees’ right to petition Congress and requires HHS to notify all employees of the IHS of their statutory right to speak with Members of Congress and their staffs.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD) and John Hoeven (R-ND) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

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Noem on involving women in the peace process

2017/06/21

The Women, Peace, and Security Act, sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem, passed the U.S. House of Representatives with unanimous support Tuesday.

The bipartisan legislation would require the U.S. to develop a comprehensive strategy to increase and strengthen women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention globally.

“Conflict knows no gender, just as peace should know no gender,” said Noem. “Even so, it’s true women are often impacted by conflict differently than their male counterparts."

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Noem's Women, Peace, and Security Act Passes House

2017/06/20

Sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem, H.R.2484, the Women, Peace, and Security Act, today passed the U.S. House of Representatives with unanimous support. This bipartisan legislation would require the U.S. to develop a comprehensive strategy to increase and strengthen women’s participation in peace negotiations and conflict prevention globally.

“Conflict knows no gender, just as peace should know no gender,” said Noem. “Even so, it’s true women are often impacted by conflict differently than their male counterparts. In some cases, terrorist groups, like ISIL, traffic women to generate revenue. In other cases, it’s women who primarily manage a war-torn country’s economy, as they keep markets, schools and the like running while their sons, brothers and husbands fight. In either case, it’s critical their voice be heard. Through meaningful congressional oversight, the Women, Peace, and Security Act will help ensure women gain a seat at the negotiating table. I’m hopeful this will help produce longer-lasting results – particularly in areas where increased stability can create greater security for the United States.”

Research shows that peace agreement is 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years when women are involved.  While some work has been done to include women at the negotiating table, this legislation would require a focused strategy with greater congressional oversight.  

Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

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House Passes Noem Bill to Protect Families Challenged by Drug Abuse

2017/06/20

Representative Kristi Noem today led the House in passing H.R.2857, the Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act, which aims to strengthen a state or tribe’s ability to keep families together through the parent’s drug addiction treatment. 

Earlier this month, South Dakota released new data showing accidental drug overdose deaths in the state climbed 59 percent between 2013 and 2016. Additionally, between 2005 and 2015, both drug-related arrests and the violent crime rate nearly doubled in the state. 

“Drug treatment programs that keep families together and children out of foster care have proven to produce better outcomes for both the parent and child,” said Noem. “Even so, government-induced barriers exist that make a family-focused approach difficult. I’m hopeful the Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act will offer another evidence-based tool to those on the drug abuse epidemic’s front line, helping them strengthen families and change lives.”

Under H.R.2857, states and tribes would have the authority to grant federal foster care support payments to children while placed with a parent in a residential, family-based treatment facility.

In addition to H.R.2857, the House today passed H.R.2834, the Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act.  Led by Reps. Noem and Danny Davis, this bipartisan legislation would also help keep families together by strengthening the Regional Partnership Grant program. This program provides funding to state and regional grantees seeking to provide evidence-based services to prevent child abuse and neglect related to substance abuse.  

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Daugaard, Noem address Legionnaires in Watertown

2017/06/19

The 99th annual South Dakota American Legion convention got visits from a few notable figures Saturday morning.

Gathered into the Heritage Theater at Watertown Event Center, the American Legion men and women heard addresses from two of South Dakota’s top elected officials in Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Rep. Kristi Noem thanking the men and women in attendance, along with other veterans and active military personnel, for their service in upholding American ideals.

Noem’s speech was particularly timely. Coming three days after a gunman, James Thomas Hodgkinson, attacked her House of Representatives colleagues at a congressional baseball practice in Washington, D.C., Noem noted that it was a veteran who applied first aid to Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who was shot in the hip. Three other veterans were at the scene, including two who ushered people to safety.

“Even after their time of serving this country, they still continue to serve in their day-to-day life not just as members of Congress doing their job, but taking care of people,” Noem said.

Noem said she was not at the scene of the shooting, but colleagues were providing updates and asking her to call their families. Noem later attended a classified briefing on the event.

Noem maintained the actions of those four veterans are representative to the continued duty to country that nearly every man and woman in the Heritage Theater could relate to.

“That’s the gratefulness I have for you today. When you left your service defending this country, you didn’t decide your job was over. You serve each and every single day to make sure that you’re taking care of the people in your lives and the people who surround you in your communities. We don’t know what we would do without you,” Noem said.

Daugaard sounded a similar note, noting that some of the people he most admired growing up were Legionnaires. Daugaard said that, after their military service, one can often find Legionnaires in leadership positions such as on the school board or leading a farmer’s co-op.

“That’s no surprise when you think about it. Legionnaires all come with personal histories that include sacrifices for the good of others,” Daugaard said.

Daugaard said those sacrifices allow him and other citizens to continue to enjoy the practices of American democracy.

“I value the freedoms that were won by you and others like you and that are protected today by active military personnel,” he said. “Because of you, I have the freedom to worship the religion of my choice. Because of you, I can choose the leaders of my government.”

In attempts to give back, Noem said Congress has been working on Veterans Health Administration reforms, including the ability to terminate employees who aren’t carrying out their duties.

“If you had had poor performance or misconduct when you served this country, there would have been consequences. There should be consequences in the VA as well,” Noem said.

Noem also expressed hope to keep the Hot Springs VA facility open after a conversation with new Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin. Noem said the facility had been on the list for closure under the Obama administration, but a hold has since been placed.

Noem said the Hot Springs facility is one of the best performers in the nation.

“If Secretary Shulkin makes the decision based on which facility delivers the best care, I have high hopes for keeping Hot Springs open and functioning and serving our veterans in the future,” Noem said.

Noem added that a bill to add 200 acres to Black Hills National Cemetery has made its way through the House and awaits to be taken up in the Senate.

In addition to Noem and Daugaard, National Commander Charles E. Schmidt was also present at the four-day convention.

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Weekly Column: A Common Country

2017/06/16

On June 14, Members of Congress, their staff, and Capitol Hill Police were fired upon while preparing for a charity baseball game. The incident left five victims with varying degrees of injury. Due to a fast response from law enforcement, however, dozens of lives were saved and I’m immensely grateful to them for that. My prayers have been with all those involved and their families, but also with our nation.  

We are a country built on the freedom to disagree. Our Founding Fathers orchestrated a revolution to ensure their children and grandchildren would not be ruled by a monarch whose heavy hand eliminated the freedom of religion, speech, and press. Later generations embraced peaceful protest to protect liberties for all, earning women the right to vote and ending segregation. Our men and women in uniform have fought to protect these freedoms; their sacrifices ought not to be taken for granted.

None of this means that America hasn’t struggled with how to deal with disagreement throughout our 240-plus-year history. During the worst of times, the differences erupted into a brutal Civil War. But even as neighbor stood against neighbor, brother against brother, Abraham Lincoln turned his focus to what binds us together: “Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.” 

Although the divisions today are nowhere near as deep as they were before our nation fell into the Civil War, many have come to feel complete disdain for those who have a different political view – a reality we see in our daily interactions on social media and elsewhere.

In the back-and-forth of issues we’re passionate about, I understand contempt can be an easy emotion to fall back on.  But when things get heated, we must keep in mind that the person we’re debating is God’s creation too.  That, in and of itself, demands civility.

So, I ask that you join me in praying for our ability to disagree on matters of policy, principle, and belief while maintaining respect for the “other side.” I also ask that you keep the president, members of Congress, and all elected officials in your prayers.  Finally, I ask that you seek God’s comfort and strength for every family impacted by violence. I will be doing the same.

I wanted to close this piece with something I wrote after Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot: “We are all South Dakotans and we are all Americans. Those are ties that will always remain stronger than any political affiliation or ideological viewpoint – no matter how strongly held.”

I am so proud to represent South Dakota and our diversity of viewpoints. Thank you for always surrounding my family and I with your prayers. It truly means the world to us.

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Beef agreement with China is welcoming news

2017/06/14

At issue: China’s agreement to accept U.S. beef imports could play a big role in helping the struggling ag economy.

We were delighted to read the news of China agreeing to accept U.S. beef imports. The cattle industry is a huge part of South Dakota’s economy and like all our ag products, a key part of how we can solve our nation’s trade imbalance, especially with nations like China.

In a statement from South Dakota’s lone representative in Congress, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) noted: “Around 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders. As the world’s largest beef producer, gaining market access is critical.” She goes on to point out — and we agree — this move to open up China to U.S. beef imports will provide a much-needed boost to the long-depressed cattle markets locally and across the Upper Midwest.

U.S. beef has been banned from China, Rep. Noem reported, since 2003. Prior to that ban going into effect, the U.S. provided 70 percent of China’s total beef intake. The ban was originally imposed after a case of mad-cow disease was discovered according to AP reports.

It was just last week we read numerous reports and news stories about South Dakota cattle producers, especially in the north central part of the state have begun liquidating their herds. The lineup of trucks and trailers taking cattle to the local livestock markets across northern South Dakota were long and unusual for this time of year. The same was happening in parts of drought-stricken North Dakota. This quick action was based on not only current low prices for beef, but now the looming threat of a drought that is taking hold across the Upper Midwest. May’s rains never did come and the pasture conditions and winter wheat crop are in trouble in many parts. With no pasture grass to support the cattle numbers, the ranchers had only one choice and that was to sell.

This weekend’s rains locally, and again on Tuesday morning and evening were a welcome relief. It has been a long time since we have witnessed standing water in the road ditches as we did Tuesday morning on the drive into work. Clearly, this rain was needed — some might refer to it as a “million-dollar” rain — just what we needed to get our crops and pasture lands to regenerate and grow. Of course, given how dry it’s been this spring so far, we know we are not out of the woods. We need more rain.

South Dakota’s two senators, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), both released statements joining Rep. Noem in applauding the Trump administration’s move to get China to open up its beef markets to U.S. producers. This effort will provide some relief to the low-price issue facing our ranchers, and with the huge China market opening up, cattle prices should rise.

More rain, more consistent rain, over the next few weeks, would solve the other part of the problem.

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Noem, House Send President VA Accountability Legislation

2017/06/13

Rep. Kristi Noem today helped pass S.1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The legislation would expand whistleblower protections within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and streamline the process required to fire any VA employee.  With passage in both the House and Senate, the legislation is expected to be signed by President Trump in the coming days.

“Our veterans deserve care that goes above and beyond the call of duty, but in far too many cases, the VA system has failed to deliver the care these men and women have earned,” said Noem. “I have heard from many South Dakota veterans who are happy with their VA experience in the state, but others have told me they’ve waited months – years in extreme cases – to receive care.  That is unacceptable. I’m proud to support this legislation and remain hopeful that it will help us remove bad actors and refocus the VA on delivering quality care to those who have served.”

In the past several years, VA’s arcane civil service rules have hampered the department’s ability to dismiss an employee that engaged in an armed robbery; discipline a VA nurse that participated in a veteran’s surgery while intoxicated; and hold employees accountable for the continued failures to manage several major construction projects.  

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 would create a new streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct with a concrete shortened timeline, while still protecting employees’ due process rights, and would provide them with the right to appeal the action. 

It would also provide expanded protections for whistleblowers and would specifically bar the VA from using this removal authority if the employee has an open whistleblower complaint or case with the Office of Special Counsel.

The House has now passed more than 150 bills, more than 30 of which have become law. 

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ICYMI: Noem Meets with Vice President Pence on Congressional Agenda

2017/06/13

Rep. Kristi Noem today met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the upcoming congressional agenda, including Obamacare’s repeal and replacement as well as tax reform.

“There’s no shortage of work to do when it comes to getting our country back on track, so it was good to talk more about how we can continue to collaborate and move this country forward,” said Noem.  “Whether it’s repealing Obamacare or tackling tax reform for the first time in three decades, it was made clear that both the Vice President and I are committed to getting things done.”

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Noem: China's Acceptance of U.S. Beef Imports Is a Welcome Change for the Market

2017/06/12

Rep. Kristi Noem, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee which has jurisdiction over trade policies, today released the following statement after the Trump administration announced the end of a 13-year ban on U.S. beef imports to China:

“Around 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders. As the world’s largest beef producer, gaining market access is critical. I welcome the administration’s proposal and am hopeful this renewed access to Chinese consumers will help boost the long-depressed cattle markets that have threatened many South Dakota cattle operations.”

The U.S. has been banned from China’s beef market since 2003. Until the ban took effect, the U.S. provided 70 percent of China’s total beef intake. Today, Chinese beef imports total $2.5 billion.

 

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Noem Urges USDA to Open CRP for Haying in Response to Worsening Drought

2017/06/12

Representative Kristi Noem today urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to immediately release all South Dakota CRP acres for haying. The letter was sent in the wake of South Dakota’s worsening drought conditions, which, among other things, has resulted in a serious feed shortage.

“The drought in South Dakota is already serious, and is only getting worse,” said Noem. “The counties that are already in drought conditions have lost their hay; the rest are in danger of that outcome. If South Dakotans are forced to wait until conditions worsen, they will lose yet another essential source of feed for their herds. Allowing the haying of acres enlisted in the CRP would give farmers much-needed relief during this difficult time.”

FULL TEXT:

June 12, 2017

The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Secretary
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue,

During your recent visit to my home state of South Dakota, you saw a snapshot of the incredible work being done in our agricultural industry. You also heard directly from producers about the struggles and barriers they face to feeding our nation and the world. Today, I write on behalf of many of those same farmers and ranchers with another urgent concern. Most of South Dakota is experiencing drought conditions. This has resulted in a serious feed shortage, leaving farmers no choice but to downsize their herds.[1] To avoid lasting damage to the agricultural industry in South Dakota, is imperative that you issue a secretarial order to immediately release all South Dakota acres enlisted in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for haying.

Let me be clear: the situation is dire. The drought in South Dakota is already serious, and is only getting worse. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center’s (NDMC) Drought Monitor, only 13 of South Dakota’s 66 counties remain unaffected. The remainder of the state, particularly the north central section, are experiencing “severe drought” conditions.[2] The NDMC further states that moderate drought “now covers the majority of North Dakota as well as northern South Dakota, and severe drought (D2) was introduced.”[3] A news article in Agweek, citing your agency’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin, said that 40 percent of my state’s pastures were in “poor or very poor condition.”[4] Similarly, 65 percent of the alfalfa hay in the state has been rated “poor or very poor.”[5]

From what I am hearing from my South Dakota constituents, conditions are worsening, and the damage is starting to affect their every decision, specifically the decision to downsize. The dry weather to date this year has led to poor grass growth, resulting in feed shortages. Farmers are being forced to sell yearlings and cow calf pairs to make ends meet.[6] News reports have detailed these difficult decisions, with one producer quoted as saying, “People are hanging on … Nobody anticipated feeding cattle this long. If we don’t get rain in the next week to 10 days, there’s even more pairs that will have to be moved.”[7]

I understand that CRP is not traditionally released for haying in situations like that which South Dakota faces, with the official drought level not yet considered extreme. I further understand that typically, CRP is released after the last hatch. However, it is important to remember that the Drought Monitor’s assessment may not fully reflect a drought’s true impact. With South Dakota livestock producers going on record in the press, calling the situation “very grim,” we must listen to those who are experiencing it firsthand. [8] They tell me that time is of the essence, and that we cannot wait to act. This is why I am requesting that you immediately release all CRP acres for haying across South Dakota, not just those currently experiencing drought. The counties that are already in drought conditions have lost their hay; the rest are in danger of that outcome. If my constituents are forced to wait until conditions worsen, they will lose yet another essential source of feed for their herds. Allowing the haying of acres enlisted in the CRP would give farmers much-needed relief during this difficult time.

I thank you for your commitment to supporting farmers and ranchers in South Dakota and across the country. I encourage you to demonstrate this commitment by assisting those affected by this drought. If you have questions, please contact my staff at 202-225-2801.

Sincerely,

KRISTI NOEM

Member of Congress



[1] Schlecht, Jenny. “Drought conditions lead to herd trimming?” Agweek, June 8, 2017. http://www.agweek.com/news/nation-and-world/4280417-drought-conditions-lead-herd-trimming

[2] Drought Mitigation Center. U.S. Drought Monitor, South Dakota. Week of June 6, 2017. http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?SD

[3] Drought Mitigation Center. National Drought Summary for June 6, 2017. http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/Narrative.aspx

[4] Schlecht.

[5] National Weather Service. “Drought Information Statement.” June 8, 2017. http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=ABR&issuedby=ABR&product=DGT

[6] Id.

[7] Associated Press. “Cattle producers adapting to drought in Aberdeen area.” Capital Journal, June 9, 2017. http://www.capjournal.com/news/cattle-producers-adapting-to-drought-in-aberdeen-area/article_80c3549c-4cdb-11e7-aa6f-87cd12ba9d3c.html

[8] Schlecht.

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Weekly Column: Regulatory Rollback

2017/06/09

The number of regulations coming out of Washington has plummeted under President Trump, providing much-needed relief to South Dakotans who have had to carry the burden of the Obama administration’s eight-year regulatory onslaught. In fact, between Inauguration Day and the end of May, the Trump administration has approved just 15 major rules, compared to 93 during the same period under President Obama.  

At the same time, Republicans across the Executive and Legislative branches have worked together to repeal or delay more than 90 Obama-era regulations.  The administration has halted the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposal, for example, which would have been one of the largest federal land grabs in U.S. history.  We’ve also seen President Obama’s greenhouse gas regulations rolled back, which even he admitted would “necessarily skyrocket” costs for families.

Now more than ever, the federal government is trying to get out of your way.

I’ve worked to make sure Congress does its part as well. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the power to repeal certain regulations. While it’s only been used successfully once before, this Congress has gotten 14 Congressional Review Act resolutions signed into law, saving $3.7 billion in regulatory costs and 4.2 million hours of paperwork.

And our work continues.

In January, the House passed the REINS Act, a bill I cosponsored to stop the overreach of federal regulators. If enacted, any regulation with an economic impact of over $100 million would need to be approved by Congress through an up-or-down vote.  If this law was in effect for President Obama, more than 500 regulations would have been subject to a vote in Congress. The legislation is now on the Senate’s doorstep.

Then, earlier this month, we provided relief from the Obama administration’s Dodd-Frank Act. In 2010, President Obama led a 2,300-page rewrite of America’s financial laws. The legislation included more regulations than all other Obama-era regulations combined.  As a result, we’ve seen the “too big to fail” banks – who can afford the paperwork and expensive lawyers needed to navigate this regulatory maze – get bigger, while smaller financial institutions that had no part in the 2008 economic collapse have struggled.  In fact, in the wake of Dodd-Frank, we’re losing one community bank or credit union per day nationwide.  

Instead of one-size-fits-all, government-knows-best regulations, we imposed the toughest penalties in history for financial fraud and ensured taxpayers won’t be on the hook for more big bank bailouts.  Additionally, we restructured the unconstitutional Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and repealed the Labor Department’s controversial fiduciary rule, which put new costs on retirees and limited their choices.  Finally, the legislation demands greater accountability and transparency from federal regulators by, among other things, forcing them to come to Congress for approval on all major regulations.  

There is a lot that needs to be done to clean up Washington and eliminate the burdens it places on the American people. But by repealing unnecessary regulations and stopping bureaucrats from imposing additional burdens, it may be what Washington isn’t doing that is producing the most good for South Dakota.

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Noem Introduces Legislation to Protect Families Challenged by Drug Abuse

2017/06/08

Representative Kristi Noem today introduced the Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act, which aims to strengthen a state or tribe’s ability to keep families together through the parent’s drug addiction treatment. 

“The dramatic rise in drug trafficking, and the violent crimes that often accompany it, has alarmed many in our state – and for good reason,” said Noem.  “Programs that center around keeping families together have proven to be highly effective in supporting parent-child bonding and reducing substance abuse relapses.  Unfortunately, barriers exist that make a family-focused approach difficult.  If enacted, the Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act would remove these roadblocks, better enabling states and tribes to seek family-centered solutions when appropriate.”

Under the legislation, states and tribes would have the authority to grant federal foster care support payments to children while placed with a parent in a residential, family-based treatment facility. 

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Noem, Johnson Reintroduce Bill to Keep Fugitives Off Social Security

2017/06/06

Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Sam Johnson (R-TX) today reintroduced the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felon (CUFF) Act. If enacted, the legislation would prohibit individuals with outstanding felony warrants or parole violations from receiving Social Security disability or retirement payments. The bill is estimated to save taxpayers $4.92 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office

It’s incredible to think that a wanted felon can evade prosecution for months – even years – and yet somehow still receive government-issued checks every 30 days or so,” said Noem.  “I’m proud to again join Congressman Johnson in introducing this commonsense legislation. Taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to make payments to people who are running from the law. It’s as simple as that.”

“The fact that fugitives can collect benefits off the backs of hardworking, law abiding taxpayers is appalling,” said Johnson, Chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee.  “Even worse, these benefits can help felons further evade the law. That’s why I’m pleased to join Congresswoman Noem in reintroducing this commonsense Law and Order bill.  It’s the right thing to do – both for the safety of and respect for all upstanding American citizens.”  

The CUFF Act discontinues Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for those with an outstanding warrant or parole violation.  The legislation only applies to individuals subject to felony charges, or a crime carrying a minimum term of one or more years in prison.  Benefits can be restored once the individual resolves any outstanding issues.

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Noem explains proposal to revamp Indian Health Services

2017/06/04

In May, South Dakota Rep. Kristi Noem introduced the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act.

Noem was in Sioux Falls Friday and spoke to KSFY News about how this bill will help improve IHS facilities in the state.

"We've had issues with babies being born on the floor, drug abuse, different quality standards, really some of the care that's been delivered in South Dakota IHS facilities has been third-world quality care and it's not acceptable," she said

Noem said her bill would fundamentally change how IHS operates.

The legislation includes an incentive program to recruit more health care providers to IHS facilities and opens up the door for more volunteers.

But Noem said a key part of the act is creating greater oversight in the program with new standards of care, reporting requirements and greater authority to fire employees who fail to support those goals.

Noem said her bill also creates whistle-blower protections to help report issues happening at any IHS facility.

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Noem Urges USDA to Act Quickly in Delivering Livestock Forage Program Relief

2017-06-23 20:19:14


Debate Begins on Noem’s IHS Reform Bill

2017-06-21 19:24:26


Noem's Women, Peace, and Security Act Passes House

2017-06-20 22:22:19


House Passes Noem's Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act

2017-06-20 22:02:26


Noem: China’s Acceptance of U.S. Beef Imports Is a Welcome Change for the Market (KNBN)

2017-06-16 16:20:34


Noem Discusses IHS Reform Bill (KSFY)

2017-06-12 16:59:58


Noem Presses HHS Secretary on Need for Health Care Reform

2017-06-08 18:51:44


Rep. Noem Introduces New IHS Reforms (KELOLAND)

2017-05-26 18:47:20


Noem Applauds DOE for Revoking Deep Borehole Field Test Proposal (KELOLAND)

2017-05-26 18:16:03


Noem Applauds DOE for Revoking Deep Borehole Field Test Proposal (KSFY)

2017-05-26 18:14:36


Ag Secretary Perdue and Rep. Noem Discuss Getting Veterans Involved in Agriculture (KEVN)

2017-05-26 18:12:54


Ag Secretary Perdue and Rep. Noem Discuss Pine Beetle Damage (KOTA)

2017-05-26 18:11:29


Noem Leads Colleagues in Introducing IHS Reform Bill

2017-05-25 18:38:55


Noem Supports Blue Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking

2017-05-23 23:15:25


Noem Visits Minnehaha County Sheriffs Department (KSFY)

2017-05-15 16:13:02


With Noem Support, Obamacare Repeal Passes House

2017-05-04 18:28:49


2017 Ag Day Essay Winner (KOTA)

2017-04-21 14:52:55


Noem Discusses Tax Reform with House Ag Committee

2017-04-05 17:37:46


Keystone XL Approved (KDLT)

2017-03-31 14:51:24


Fighting Human Trafficking in SD (KSFY)

2017-03-23 17:51:04


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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