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Rounds Says Senate Working Too Hard for Many Town Halls

Senator Mike Rounds has an excuse for not holding a town hall in South Dakota this year until Friday, May 19: The Trump Senate is just working so darned much harder!

Rounds says there’s quite a bit more activity going on in Washington D.C. than in previous years…

“We’re actually working again in Washington D.C.,” Rounds says. “So, the number of days that we actually have to be back in the state and moving around is a little more limited than what it was in the past. A couple years ago, as Senator Thune shares with me, there was a time there where the Senate only voted on the floor 15 times in an entire year. That gave them a change to be back home a little bit more. Right now we’re literally voting Monday through Thursday, then we try to get back into the state for Friday and Saturday and then we’re back rolling again first part of the week” [Lee Strubinger, “Rounds Holds First Town Hall in Rapid City Since New Congress,” SDPB, 2017.05.19].

Senator Rounds makes many people skip work to hear him talk at a 9:30 a.m. town hall in Rapid City on May 19, 2017. Photo from Rounds spokesperson Natalie Krings, Twitter, 2017.05.19.
Senator Rounds makes many people skip work to hear him talk at a 9:30 a.m. town hall in Rapid City on May 19, 2017. Photo from Rounds spokesperson Natalie Krings, Twitter, 2017.05.19.

Working harder than last year certainly isn’t much to brag about. According to Senate records, Rounds and his colleagues spent just 781 hours—not quite 98 full work days—in session and held 163 votes. Both figures are twenty-year lows. So actually holding a vote almost day in session—which for regular workers like you and me is like saying, “actually doing my job almost every day that I come to the office”—must feel like a whirlwind pace above and beyond the slack duty Rounds performed last year.

So far this year, the Senate has held 132 roll call votes. Last year by May 19, the Senate had only cast 82 votes, but in 2015, they’d cast 182 votes, and the average of those two figures is 132. From 2007 to 2016, the average number of roll call votes cast in the Senate through May 19 was 139. So no, Senator Rounds, the Senate isn’t really working that much more than in recent years… at least not in any discernible way that excuses your not being around for a town hall until May 19.


  1. Porter Lansing 2017-05-22 13:48

    President Trump has signed over 90 executive orders but none of them required Senate voting. Could we have a thumbnail of what your Senate has accomplished so far, Sen. Rounds?

  2. Dana P 2017-05-22 13:58

    Um. So. With Smilin’ Mike “logic”, there was times for a bazillion town halls back in the day when they weren’t as busy, right? (survey says? didn’t happen, Mike)

    And, with Smilin’ Mike logic, that means you don’t have anything else to “work on” when there are no bills being voted on? Sigh

    So, the reason Mr Rounds says these ridiculous things? Because he (and Thune and Noem) can always get away with it and never be confronted on their high pile of manure that they spread.

  3. Donald Pay 2017-05-22 15:18

    Pffff. Sen. Round’s has been inhaling the helium in the balloons he’s given himself for “working” those grueling hours there in DC.

    I used to have respect for Rounds. He used to be one of the more intelligent legislators in Pierre. I guess that ain’t saying much. Does anyone believe anything he says? His statements make him sound like a standup comedian, but I think he was being serious. Wasn’t he?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-22 15:31

    Rounds seems to be trying to trick us into some new renormalization of lazy Senatoring. Stopping the slide in effort on Capitol Hill should not come at the expense of interacting with the public. Rounds should be trying to increase both efforts.

  5. owen reitzel 2017-05-22 18:11

    Didn’t think Rounds would wait too long to put the blame on Obama.

    Keep those excuses coming Mike

  6. JK 2017-05-22 21:23

    Senator Rounds infuriates me to no end! He has lost touch with the people of South Dakota…talking to a stone wall gets better results.

  7. Loren 2017-05-22 22:09

    Wow, those 3-day work weeks with 2 and 3 week intermissions must be killing Mikey. Perhaps he should step aside and let someone fill the post who is up to the task. Sounding a bit whiney, Mikey!

  8. leslie 2017-05-23 21:08

    Hey Don P., good work on DOE btw.

    Rounds is just scared trump is stirring up EB5 which he thinks he dodged a bullet from. tick tock

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