12.10.10

A Message from Senator Richard Burr

Before getting into what we worked on in Washington this week, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of Elizabeth Edwards. She was a passionate advocate for issues she believed in and a caring and loving mother. Her legacy should serve as an inspiration to all of us. Although her life was not without tragedy and adversity, through it all she fought for her family and faced every challenge with courage, poise, and grace. Brooke's and my thoughts and prayers are with her entire family.

Many of you have called or written my office to express your opinion on the DREAM Act. This is legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for a large number of illegal immigrants, and it was defeated in the Senate this week. The DREAM Act would reward those who have broken our immigration laws with citizenship and tuition benefits. This legislation is fraught with enforcement problems and, counter to what many people think, it is not limited to children. I do not believe it is appropriate to reward those who are in this country illegally at the expense of those who have followed the rules.

Last night, we received more information about the tax extension proposal put forth by President Obama. As I have said previously, I support a permanent extension of the current tax rates for everyone. A tax increase is the last thing American families, and our economy, need. I am currently reviewing the details of this proposal, and I will keep you informed about what it means for you and your family in the days to come.

You may also be interested to learn that yesterday, at a ceremony at the White House, President Obama signed the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 into law. This bill, which I introduced along with Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), criminalizes the creation, sale, distribution, advertising, marketing, and exchange of animal crush videos. Crush videos are violent, obscene depictions of animal cruelty - often involving young women torturing small animals to death - that far surpass what most people would think of when they hear the phrase "animal cruelty." This bill was crafted to address previous concerns from the Supreme Court about First Amendment issues.

Also in legislative news, on Wednesday, the Senate passed the National Alzheimer's Project Act, a bill I cosponsored. Many of us have watched as a friend, a family member or a member of our community struggled with Alzheimer's disease and have seen first-hand the toll ittakes ontheir loved ones, especially caregivers. As a leading cause of death in the U.S., it's also a costly disease that threatens to drive up Medicare and Medicaid costs related to Alzheimer's as high as $800 billion. The legislation passed by the Senate establishes a National Alzheimer's Project within the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services tasked with overseeing our national efforts to combat this devastating illness.

Before the end of the lame-duck session, President Obama has said he would like to ratify the New START Treaty, an arms-control agreement between the United States and Russia. After reviewing provisions contained in the New START treaty, I have decided to vote against ratification. I fear it will have a negative impact on our national security, and the United States must be assured that any arms treaty it agrees to does not limit our ability to defend against growing international threats. This New START does not satisfy that criteria, and I look forward to debate on the issue so I can address more specifically the concerns I have with ratifying this agreement.

As we continue to tackle these issues and more, I encourage you to check my new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SenatorRichardBurr and follow me on Twitter@SenatorBurrfor updates. If you want to leave a comment with a member of my staff or ask a question, you can always give my office a call or leave a comment at http://aiss.enews.senate.gov/t/126731/5970909/2226/0/.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Richard Burr

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