Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

This week, I joined with the Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to introduce a piece of legislation designed to help the Department of Veterans Affairs meet its goal to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015. Although we’ve made significant progress, there are still over 62,000 homeless veterans that we have an obligation to help off the street and back on their feet.  The Homeless Veterans Prevention Act of 2013 is an important step in addressing the top unmet needs among homeless veterans. Read more here.

Additionally, I joined Sens. Tom Coburn (OK) and John Thune (SD) to introduce the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act, legislation that will help taxpayers see the unfunded liabilities in state and local government pensions.  It would establish a clear federal prohibition on any future public pension bailouts by the federal government. For too long, taxpayers and government employees have been denied information about how badly government worker pension plans are underfunded. This bill sheds light on these enormous liabilities and prevents a federal bailout of state and local government pension plans to help ensure that taxpayers do not suffer the consequences down the road. Find out more details here.

On another issue, reports have also surfaced this week that some Members of Congress are considering legislation that would exempt themselves and their staff from the insurance exchanges they are required to join as part of Obamacare. Ironically, the Obama administration, the White House staff, and Department of Health and Human Services’ bureaucrats writing thousands of pages of regulations to implement this law, are not subject to the same requirements being forced on others.  Let me be clear, I have long been a vocal opponent of Obamacare and prefer to repeal it in its entirety so that no one is subject to it. However, as I stated this week, if the American people are going to have to suffer the consequences of this disastrous bill, then Members of Congress and their staff need to remain under Obamacare as well.  Furthermore, Obamacare should be applied to the President, Vice President, the Cabinet and political appointees.

Throughout this week, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have been closely monitoring the investigation of the Boston bombing suspects and will continue to review the intelligence as it is uncovered.

The Senate is on recess next week.  I will be travelling throughout North Carolina and visiting Fort Bragg, New Hanover, Wake, and Wilson counties to meet with members of the military, chat with constituents, and visit a few of North Carolina’s businesses. 


        Richard Burr