A Message from Senator Richard Burr

Another week has passed, and as always, I am very glad to be heading back to North Carolina for the weekend. There are a couple of issues I'd like to highlight for you as we wrap up the week in Washington.

Recent news reports indicate that oil from the Gulf spill has reached Florida's shores. The photos and stories from the Gulf are powerful reminders that we must stay focused on the situation there. As we continue to push the Administration on this issue by asking the President to repeal the Jones Act and allow foreign ships to help clean up the mess, congressional hearings looking at causes of the spill are also continuing. We must have a full picture and clear understanding of all the circumstances leading to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon to ensure that this never happens again, and it is becoming clear that we must examine the federal response.

We must also look at our nation's energy needs going forward, and all options—including alternatives to petroleum—need to be on the table.This week, I attended a hearing on electric vehicles that looked at ways in which lawmakers can make it easier for American companies to build them and for American drivers to purchase them. While these types of vehicles may not have caught on widely in North Carolina yet, they do serve as an example of the type of innovative and practical approaches that have helped build America's economy.

Senator Chambliss and I have been working on a bill to encourage the use of clean, domestic energy sources but without increasing energy costs for American families. I'll report more on that bill next week. Considering the size of the military community in North Carolina, the change in leadership in Afghanistan is particularly relevant to our state. The Senate will take up General Petraeus' confirmation hearings next week. After what I hope will be a swift confirmation process, I look forward to working with him to ensure the successful completion of our mission in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the Senate passed the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act which places sanctions on financial institutions doing business with Iran in addition to the existing energy sanctions. I believe we must take the threat of a nuclear Iran seriously, and we must prevent Iran from developing weapons of mass destruction. This bill is yet another step in addressing the issue of curtailing Iran's nuclear efforts.

Today, June 25, marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. A resolution I introduced recognizing this anniversary and honoring veterans passed the Senate and is waiting for the President's signature. Despite being called the 'Forgotten War,' the Korean War holds deep historical and strategic significance to our country and to many families. This resolution honors the almost 1.8 million Americans who served proudly in that conflict, and recognizes the continued resilience and vibrancy of the alliance between the United States and South Korea.

Next week is the last week before the 4th of July recess, so we have many pressing issues to address before the break. We will likely be taking a final vote on the "extenders bill," which, as I mentioned last week, is legislation designed to extend expiring unemployment and tax provisions. I am intent on making sure that the country can afford any bill that the Senate passes. In addition to General Petraeus, the Senate will also begin confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.

U.S. Senator Richard Burr

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