06.29.12

Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

Supreme Court decision on the President's health care law - individual mandate is a tax

While this was a busy week legislatively in Washington, the biggest news of the week came from the Supreme Court. On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided to uphold the President's health care law claiming that the individual mandate included in the law is, in fact, a tax. While the Court has been reviewing this law for months, American families and businesses have been reviewing it for years, and they have rendered their verdict as well. Following this decision, a few things remain unchanged and very clear: our health care system is broken, costs remain unchecked, and outcomes are not improving. I remain committed to addressing these concerns and fulfilling our obligation to the American people to lower health care costs, expand coverage and choice, and build on the innovation that sets America apart from the rest of the world.

Montford Point Marines, America's first African American Marines, receive Congressional Gold Medal

On Wednesday, I was honored to attend a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for the Montford Point Marines, the first African Americans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. These brave men led the way for future generations of African-Americans who have strengthened our military across the ranks and reached the highest levels of our military's leadership. Their bravery, service, and sacrifice should serve as an example of patriotism and loyalty despite the significant challenges they faced.

Hatteras ORV/local economy bill

On Wednesday, a bill I introduced, the Restricting ORV use on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, was discussed in a hearing of the Parks subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This bill will boost local economies by opening up sections of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to ORV access. Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare County Commissioners, testified at the hearing about the economic and cultural benefits of this bill on the community. I was pleased to witness the bipartisan support for the bill in the hearing and hope it will be voted out of committee soon.

FDA user fee bill

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the FDA user fee bill, which includes key provisions that will improve the transparency, accountability, and regulatory certainty of FDA's work on behalf of our nation's patients. North Carolina is home to some of the world's leading researchers and innovators who depend on regulatory certainty and predictability to continue to promote 21st century advancements for our nation's patients.

While there were strong components to this bill, I voted against it because important provisions were left out, and I want my vote to serve as a marker to remind people of the need to go all the way when it comes to getting it right. There is no such thing as spending too much time when it comes to getting something like this right , and when this bill comes back up five years from now, I want people to know why I voted against this bill so they will know what must be addressed in the next user fee reauthorization. I went to the floor of the Senate to speak about this bill - to view my remarks, visit my YouTube page.