South Dakota's Senate Race: Two Potential Candidates' Spending Pasts

by Dan Barrett / /

Today, Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) is expected to announce that he will not seek a fourth term as one of South Dakota's Senators. With this news, at least six people from the Mount Rushmore State have either declared or are considering a 2014 run at the seat, including:

  • Brendan Johnson (D), U.S. Attorney
  • William Napoli, former state Senator
  • Kristi Noem (R), U.S. Representative
  • Mike Rounds (R), former Governor of South Dakota
  • Larry Rhoden, Majority Whip of the South Dakota Senate
  • Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D), former U.S. Representative

Using NTUF's BillTally project, which is the only comprehensive research system to score EVERY introduced bill in Congress for new potential spending or savings to taxpayers, I compiled the past agendas of Congresswoman Kirsti Noem (R-SD) and former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD). Scoring each of their supported (sponsored or cosponsored) measures for budgetary effects, I was able to find some interesting points about both Representatives' legislative past. This does not necessarily mean that Noem and Sandlin would continue these trends but there is a likelihood that they may repeat what they have previously done.

You can search for your Member's or Senators' line-by-line BillTally report here.

Proposed Spending Agendas of
Congresswoman Kirsti Noem (R-SD)
(in millions of dollars)
Note: NTUF has yet to finalize and release data for the entire 112th Congress. These figures are based on the BillTally First Session report.
Source: NTUF BillTally System

Congresswoman Kristi Noem was first elected to Congress in 2010 for the 112th Congress. She serves on the Agriculture and the House Armed Services Committees. In this short amount of time (see the note in the following table), it is difficult to determine if Representative Noem would support similar legislation in the future. However, she did support measures that would increase and decrease federal spending.

Spending Proposals from the 112th Congress:

  • Allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines
  • Expand sanctions on Iran
  • Increase Impact Aid payments from the federal government to local entities

Spending Cut Proposals from the 112th Congress:

  • Pass the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which would institute spending caps
  • Permit increase offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling
  • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Proposed Spending Agendas of
Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD)
(in millions of dollars)
Career Average
Note: NTUF has yet to finalize and release data for the entire 112th Congress. These figures are based on the BillTally First Session report.
Source: NTUF BillTally System

Former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin served four terms in the House from 2004 to 2011. During her last term, she served on the Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Veterans' Affairs Committees. She also was on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Representative Sandlin's proposals, similar to Congresswoman Noem, is a mix of government cost increases and decreases.

Recurring Spending Proposals:

  • Ensure full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Increase veterans' health care benefits
  • Institute a single-payer health care system

Recurring Spending Cut Proposals:

  • Collect higher percentages of energy royalties
  • Encourage and open channels for prescription drug importation
  • Impose non-security discretionary spending limits

One broad area that both potential candidates seemingly agree on is removing benefits caps for military veterans and their dependents so that they may receive full concurrent payments. Congresswoman Noem supported permitting surviving spouses of veterans to receive compensation from multiple benefits programs without payment limits whereas Congresswoman Sandlin has either sponsored or cosponsored legislation that would allow for veterans (and government pensioners) to receive full concurrent benefits.