One of the major accomplishments of Congress last year was passing a tax reform bill. This year, their attention may turn to so-called, “entitlement reforms.”

Congresswoman Kristi Noem says there are too many able-bodied people relying on government programs, when they could be working. Despite looking at welfare programs, Noem made it clear that the Republicans in Congress aren’t looking at reforming Social Security or Medicare programs.

“We’ve been very clear. The President doesn’t want to do that, and I don’t either,” Noem said about Social Security and Medicare. “I think those programs need to be protected.”

But, Noem said, they are looking at the poverty programs in the country.

“I’m a big believer that we perpetuate poverty in this country,” she said. “I’ve asked that we pass bills that give governors more freedom. If somebody’s on welfare or Medicare, that I can tie that to a work-training opportunity or to an education opportunity.”

Noem says there are thousands of unfilled jobs in South Dakota, and that there are a lot of people in the state on government programs.

“Let’s give them an opportunity to get trained in the workplace to fill a job we need filled and then eventually get them into a higher-paying job so they can take care of their family,” she said.

Noem’s comments came during a recent stop in Watertown where she talked about the tax reform benefits for South Dakotans.

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