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U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem
Kristi Noem official mug 01 14 11

I was extremely surprised to read Thursday's editorial in the Rapid City Journal accusing me of voting for the "bridge to nowhere" earmark, referring to the infamous project in Alaska.

Rather than look deeper into the attack leveled by partisan Democrats based in Washington, D.C., the Journal editorial board took the attack and ran with it.

If the Journal would have looked a little deeper into the issue, they would have found that the vote referenced was a procedural vote with no impact on policy or funding.

House Democrats in the minority offered the procedural vote in an effort to try and slow down the legislative process and embarrass the majority.

Funding for the notorious "bridge to nowhere" earmark was never even in question during this most recent debate because the project was killed five years ago.

No funding has been directed toward the dead project that year or since then.

Because of wasteful projects like that, I joined my House Republican colleagues in instituting a ban on all earmarks earlier this year.

Regardless of what the Journal chose to print earlier this week, my record on wasteful earmarks is clear: I'm against them.

I have been South Dakota's lone U.S. representative for less than three months but we are making great gains in our efforts to follow through in my number one campaign promise: cut wasteful spending and give the private sector breathing room to create jobs.

We have cut wasteful spending or unneeded laws and regulations every week since I was sworn into office. We started with a $35 million cut to our own U.S. House budget.

Next up, we approved legislation saving taxpayers millions of dollars that are wasted every year printing multiple paper copies of pieces of legislation.

Then we voted to cut $617 million over the next 10 years by eliminating taxpayer funding for presidential elections.

We also voted to repeal the unconstitutional and costly health care law.

When the Senate failed to follow suit, we approved a measure to repeal a huge tax compliance burden buried in the health care law that did nothing but force small businesses to devote time and resources to tax filing instead of to business expansion and job creation.

Finally, in an open process that allowed for amendments and full debate, we passed a funding bill for the rest of the current fiscal year that cut $100 billion in wasteful and duplicative spending.

We're off to a good start, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Last month the federal government reported its largest monthly deficit in history - $223 billion - marking 29 straight months the government has been in the red.

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In comparison, the annual federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2007 was $161 billion. That means our deficit for a single month this year was more than the deficit for all of 2007.

I am going to continue putting my energy into policies that cut spending and create jobs.

When the dust settles and it's time for South Dakotans to judge the work we've done, I have no doubt it will be clear that I'm on the side of South Dakota families and small businesses who expect the federal government to tighten its belt just like the rest of us.

Kristi Noem is a Republican U.S. representative from South Dakota.

Randall Rasmussen's column will return next week.



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