As you may know, Obama's Budget was released yesterday. The President seems to have heard some of our concerns, however the slight improvements reflected in his budget are over-shadowed by the hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending programs at a time when we can't even afford the government we already have.
For the first time ever, the Obama budget is setting its sights on raiding Americans' retirement savings accounts in order to feed more revenue to the government. Americans should not be comforted by the Administration's claim that its proposed raid on retirement accounts will only affect the "wealthy." Let's be clear, retirement savings accounts cannot be a shelter for the wealthy because contributions to these accounts are already capped under current law, and individuals are subject to income taxes either on the money they contribute to a Roth account or withdraw from a traditional account. Rather, the Obama plan specifically targets those Americans who have saved responsibly over their entire working lives, regardless of what their income is, and because it takes the radical step of going after account balances, it will subject all Americans who save even a cent toward retirement to unprecedented reporting requirements to the IRS.
Last night, I joined a group of Republican Senators and the President for a discussion about our economy and our national debt.
The problems facing our nation are numerous, complex, and cannot be solved in a single night, but I am hopeful the President will work with Congress to fix our entitlement programs so they are viable for future generations of Americans and reform our tax code so that we can encourage economic growth, promote job creation, and provide a prosperous future for American families and businesses.
American families are already making sacrifices to make ends meet amidst a weak economy, yet the federal government refuses to lead by example. Our debt has grown to more than $16 trillion dollars, an amount that only grows larger as our spending continues to spiral out of control. Contrary to what the President has said, the federal government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and it is imperative that we rein it in.
We need to reduce federal spending, eliminate duplicative and wasteful functions of government, and pass a budget in order to restore our economy and reduce our massive federal deficit. We must create an environment in which American citizens may succeed, businesses may grow and people’s dreams of a better tomorrow may become realities. This starts by passing a budget and getting our economy back on track.
I will fight any effort to further infringe on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, whether it is legislation or executive action by the President. I am open to having a conversation about ways in which our nation can address mental health issues and reduce violence, but I will not stand by while the President and others try to restrict the rights of law-abiding American citizens.[read more]
Yesterday, I voted against a treaty that would have jeopardized U.S. sovereignty and the ability of American families to make decisions on their own regarding what is best for them and their family members. The stated goal of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Treaty was to protect the rights of the disabled, but in reality it would have done nothing to strengthen existing laws and protections and would have had the adverse effect of opening up our laws to international inspection and review from countries such as Cuba, China, and Syria among others. America is already a beacon to the rest of the world when it comes to caring for citizens with disabilities, why would we allow nations with such abysmal human rights records to have a say in how we care for our own disabled citizens?
I strongly support the rights and protections of disabled American citizens, and I am proud that our nation has concrete and robust laws in place to advance the cause of the disabled. During my time in Congress, I have supported – and participated in authoring – laws and programs that make a real difference in the everyday lives of the disabled, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act. The United States is a world leader when it comes to care for our disabled citizens, and we do not need to ratify a treaty that jeopardizes our sovereignty to prove that. The best thing we can do is continue to be the gold standard for protecting the rights of those with disabilities and let our example serve to influence other nations to do the right thing as well.[read more]
Every four years, Americans travel to Washington from all corners of the country to witness the swearing-in of our nation’s newly elected President. My office has received numerous requests for information about the upcoming inaugural ceremonies on January 21, 2013, and for those of you interested in attending, there will be plenty to do that day. I encourage you to visit the website for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) for information on the ceremonies and events. That website is: http://inaugural.senate.gov/
Tickets are required to attend the swearing-in ceremony, and we are maintaining a list of everyone who asks for tickets. You are welcome to contact my office at 202-224-3154 to be added to this list, but we have already received more requests than the number of tickets we expect to be allotted. However, the JCCIC plans to expand the public viewing areas of the swearing-in for visitors who do not have tickets and immediately following the swearing-in ceremony, the Inaugural Parade will take place along Pennsylvania Avenue. Tickets are not required to view the parade.
I wish you safe and warm travels to Washington D.C.
Senator Richard Burr[read more]
Today’s monthly jobs report is further proof of what many Americans already know: the Administration’s policies are hurting our economy and stifling job creation.
Only 96,000 jobs were added last month, far below economists’ expectations, and far below 2011’s monthly average of 153,000. 23.1 million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, and 5 million Americans have been out of work for more than a year now.
The only remotely good news is that the unemployment rate dropped from the 8.3% to 8.1%, but even that number isn’t encouraging because it doesn’t include the people who gave up looking for work entirely. Since the federal government only counts people as unemployed if they are actually looking for a job, this drop in the unemployment rate isn’t indicative of the actual situation as it does not count the 368,000 Americans who dropped out of the workforce entirely and gave up looking for work.
Following several days on the heels of our national debt topping $16 trillion dollars, this jobs report is a clear indication of the lack of will and leadership from the President and Senate Democrats when it comes to our economic recovery.[read more]