11.19.10

A Message from Senator Richard Burr

As you know, this newsletter has been on a temporary hiatus since September due to Senate rules prohibiting me from sending one outwithin six weeks prior to an election.With the election behind us, I am once again allowed to communicate with you via this newsletter. We returned to Washington earlier this week and hit the ground running.

On Tuesday night, Senate Republicans approved a resolution that puts a two year moratorium on earmarks. By adopting this resolution, Republicans are taking a stand on behalf of taxpayers and against wasteful spending.Next, a bipartisan group of four Senators are asking for a full Senate vote on a proposal to bar earmarks on all legislation through the fiscal year ending on Oct. 1, 2013. This change in Washington culture is absolutely vital to regaining public trust and is the first step in the difficult process of reducing our $13 trillion debt. In addition to often wasting taxpayer money, earmarks have become political tools, such as when the Administration used them to trade favors in exchange for support of the expensive and ineffective health care reform bill pushed through Congress last year.

Also, this week, the Senate debated S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. America's food safety system was designed over a century ago and was appropriate for a world in which most of our food was grown and processed here at home. However, the increasingly global nature of our food supply means we must modernize and update our approach to food safety in order to ensure that the products we are consuming are safe.

Since the release of the most recent version of S. 510, there has been a good bit of misinformation surrounding the bill—especially regarding small farms and businesses. From day one, I have worked to ensure that this legislation will include protections for small farms and processors. We cannot apply a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to food safety, and I will continue to fight to ensure that they are not burdened as a result of any food safety legislation.

On Thursday, the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee held an oversight hearing to review the VA's and Department of Defense's joint Disability Evaluation System pilot. For servicemembers whose injuries or medical conditions prevent them from continuing their service in the military, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA have been conducting a pilot program to find ways to speed up the existing disability rating process. Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune were part of this pilot. We expect that Pope Air Force Base, Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will participate in the first stage of the worldwide rollout of the program on December 31. I'm pleased that the VA and DoD are aggressively moving forward with this program. As they do so, I intend to keep an eye on its implementation and ensure that service men and women are receiving the attention and care that they have earned.

I've recently launched a new fan page where I will post further legislative updates and other news. Please become a fan of the Senator Richard Burr official Facebook page by visiting here.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Richard Burr

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