After a Congressional recess, I was back in Washington this week where, like they were all across the country, everyone was talking about the outstanding work of our Special Forces and the death of Osama bin Laden. This is a major development in our fight against terrorism and proves our resolve to hold accountable those who harm American citizens. However, we must remain vigilant and not lose focus on the overall mission and our goal of eradicating terrorist threats. There still remains a dire threat posed by bin Laden’s followers and the seeds of hate he planted across the globe, and while we are immensely grateful for this victory, our work is far from over. I spoke with several news outlets, both national and local, this week about this development. To watch an interview I did with Fox’s Shepard Smith, click here. To listen to my conversation on KZL’s Murphy in the Morning show, click here.
While the death of bin Laden understandably dominated most of the news this week, legislative business continued in the Senate. On Thursday, I introduced a bill that would cut government spending and increase efficiency in federal agencies by consolidating the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency into a single, new agency called the Department of Energy and Environment. This common-sense approach will reduce duplicative and wasteful functions across these two agencies and streamline our approach to a comprehensive, coordinated energy and environmental policy. During this Congress, I will be introducing similar bills that combine other agencies in an attempt to reduce wasteful spending and increase government efficiency. To read more about this bill, click here.
I also was proud to introduce a resolution designating today, May 6, as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. This day is an opportunity to make sure that the spouses of the men and women in our military know that their fellow citizens recognize the sacrifices they make and appreciate their valuable contributions. These spouses serve our country in unique ways and do so knowing that their loved ones may be in harm’s way, and the difficulty that they endure helps make our country stronger. Thank you to the men and women who support our service members.
On a similar note, I attended a reception yesterday honoring this year’s Military Spouses of the Year. All five branches of the Armed Services bestowed the award on a spouse from their branch, and two were from North Carolina. Crystal Cavalier from Cameron was the Spouse of the Year for the Army and Bianca Strzalkowski from Fuquary-Varina represented the Marine Corps. Ultimately, Bianca was chosen as the Military Spouse of the Year for all the branches. These spouses, along with the representatives from the Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard represent the millions of past and present military spouses who continue to show resilience in a wartime environment, dedicating their lives and families to the service of a grateful nation and give back to their communities.
Stay tuned as the Senate takes up FY2012 budget proposals, and hopefully important budget reforms, in the coming weeks.
U.S. Senator Richard Burr