Not Perfect, but Progress

July 16, 2021
Weekly Column

In Congress, hardly anything is perfect. But just because it’s not perfect, doesn’t mean there’s not progress.

This past week we made progress for South Dakota.

The first comes following the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) decision to walk back plans to change the city status of Rapid City.

In January, OMB began toying with the idea to increase the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) qualification from 50,000 to 100,000 people. This set off the alarm bells in smaller cities across the country, including ours.

Upon learning of this proposal, I led several of my House colleagues to introduce the Metropolitan Statistical Area Preservation Act to preserve the more than 140 MSAs from losing their classification.

Rapid City is a robust, growing city – and it deserves the resources that come with being classified as an MSA. Following my legislative push, I’m glad to see the city’s classification is safe.   

Secondly, the USDA announced two much needed and frankly overdue investments for our regional cattle producers to help level the playing field. 

The first is a program to help expand meat processing capacity for small cattle processers which mirrors the Butcher Block Act that I recently introduced.

The second is the implementation of my bill - the Small Packer Overtime & Holiday Fee Relief for COVID-19 Act - leveling the regulatory playing field for small meat processors running extra shifts. 

While we still have a long way to go, these programs will certainly get us one step closer to a fairer cattle market.

As reflected in both the OMB and USDA announcements, common-ground and common-sense proposals can be achieved in Washington.

It’s easy to get swept up in the more partisan issues of the day, but it’s important to acknowledge the small victories. This time, we made progress for cattle producers and residents of Rapid City.