A Message from Senator Richard Burr

We are in the final stretch of the 111th Congress.Topping the list of unfinished items are bills funding operations of the federal government for the rest of the year and legislation that will ensure American families and small businesses do not face large tax increases on January 1.

The Majority has yet to set a schedule for the remaining time in this Congress, and major issues like funding the government and preventing tax increases on all Americans have not been addressed. In the absence of a clear agenda from the Majority Leader, on Tuesday Senate Republicans sent a letter to Senator Reid urging him to make these issues the top priorities between now and the time the Senate adjourns. It's time that the Majority bring the most critical legislation to the Senate floor for debate and a vote so we can get to work on the myriad of pressing issues on which Americans desperately need action taken. Read the letter we sent to Majority Leader in its entirety here.

One issue the Senate did vote on this week was the food safety bill. Our nation'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 domestically. Recent outbreaks of food-borne illness and nationwide recalls of contaminated food from both domestic and foreign sources highlight the need to modernize and strengthen our food safety system. This bill improves our capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to food-borne outbreaks and illnesses and increases safety standards on food imported from other countries. I joined a bipartisan group of Senators to help shape the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act so that I could be sure it worked for North Carolina, improved the safety of our food supply, and included protections for small farms and producers from onerous regulation. To read a summary and full text of the bill click here.

I have heard from many North Carolinians concerned that the bill will grant the FDA broader authority to regulate small, family farms. This is simply not true. The fact of the matter is if farms weren't required to register with the FDA prior to this bill, they will not have to register as a result of this bill.I encourage you to visit this page on my website that addresses many of these areas of concern and sets the record straight on what this bill means for farms and businesses.

On Wednesday, the President's deficit commission issued its report outlining steps we can take to put our nation back on the road to fiscal sanity. I am currently reviewing the report, and will likely not agree with everything included in it, but the drastic steps it recommends underscore the severity of our current situation. We are spending ourselves into insurmountable debt, and unless we rein in this spending we will condemn future generations of Americans to a life with fewer opportunities than we enjoy today.

Wednesday marked World AIDS Day, a day for us to remember those whom have lost their battle to this disease and to recommit ourselves to providing life-saving treatment, care, and prevention to those affected by HIV/AIDS. While we have made great strides in the treatment of this disease in recent years, we must recommit ourselves to the fight against HIV/AIDS here at home and acknowledge the work that remains to be done. I am a strong supporter of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a life-saving program that provides treatment to low-income patients. Sadly, nine states - including North Carolina - have ADAP waiting lists with thousands of individuals waiting for life-saving treatment. Every day that a patient waits to enroll in these life-saving programs threatens their health and overall quality of life. This is simply unacceptable. I remain committed to ensuring HIV/AIDS patients across North Carolina and our nation have access to the life-saving treatment they need.

I recently launched a new Facebook page. On it, I will provide updates regarding what is going on in Washington and how the issues we debate in the Senate affect you and your family back home. I encourage you to "like" my page on Facebook to receive updates and stay informed of my work in Washington and North Carolina.