07.30.10

A Message from Senator Richard Burr

While I was in Washington this week, members of my staff attended Veterans Fairs in Winston-Salem, Charlotte and New Bern. At these Fairs, my staff and representatives from the Veterans Administration answered questions and provided assistance across a wide range of issues, including claims and benefits, home loans and housing, employment and training opportunities, healthcare, insurance, government contracting, and other issues. You've likely heard me express my frustration in hearings, interviews and previous newsletters at how difficult it can be for deserving veterans to receive the benefits and health care they have earned. Feedback from the Veterans Fairs will be enormously helpful as I work with my colleagues to try to improve the VA benefits system.

On Thursday, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence met to consider the nomination of General James Clapper to be Director of National Intelligence in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I believe General Clapper's wide range of experience will be an asset to the entire Intelligence Committee and I voted in favor of his nomination, which must now go to the full Senate.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the pending confirmations of Judges Wynn and Diaz to the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. I support both judges, but the Majority Leader has not brought them to the floor of the Senate for a vote. The 4th Circuit hears federal appeals from cases filed in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. While North Carolina is the most populous state in the Fourth Circuit, the state has just one judge on the fifteen judge court. I am hopeful the Majority Leader will call for a roll call vote on these two qualified and deserving nominees so that our state can finally have the fair representation it deserves.

Prior to recessing for August, next week the Senate will vote on the confirmation of Elena Kagan, the President's nominee to serve on the United States Supreme Court. I opposed Ms. Kagan's nomination to be Solicitor General, and the little additional information provided through the confirmation hearing process has given me no reason to change my mind with regard to serving on the Supreme Court. With no judicial record, I am left with reviewing her decisions in academic life and the policies for which she actively advocated in prior political appointments. I am concerned by her actions with regard to military recruiters - fighting to keep military recruiters off campuses in a time of war - and believe it extends to her views on the rest of the military. I am also concerned about her views on Second Amendment rights and her lack of sympathy for law-abiding gun owners. She has consistently substituted her personal beliefs for the letter of the law, and for that reason I cannot support her confirmation.

On August 10, I'll be holding the Ninth Annual Defense and Economic Development Trade Show and Government Procurement Workshops in Fayetteville. I believe that North Carolina businesses possess the high quality skills and service that our men and women in the military deserve. The trade show is an important opportunity for North Carolina companies to meet with representatives from the Department of Defense and major defense organizations looking for subcontractors. Workshops throughout the day will offer advanced training to facilitate better business interaction between North Carolina companies and the military. Many thanks to the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Fayetteville Technical Community College, the North Carolina Defense Business Association and the North Carolina Military Business Center whose partnership has helped make this event happen. Additional information on the Trade Show will be available in next week's newsletter.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Richard Burr