Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

Since the beginning of the 113th Congress, several topics have dominated the conversation both nationally and in Washington. After passage of the fiscal cliff deal on January 1, we now must focus on a longer-term fix to our nation's economic issues. It has been more than three years since the Majority Leader even put a budget on the Senate floor, let alone allowed the Senate to act on and pass one. This is inexcusable.

Last week, I signed on as a cosponsor of the No Budget No Pay Act, a bill that would prohibit members of Congress from being paid if they do not pass a budget by the beginning of a fiscal year. With our national debt approaching $17 trillion, there has never been a more important time for a budget than now. A fiscally responsible budget is absolutely vital to our economic recovery, to reining in federal spending, and to restoring fiscal sanity to the federal government. Paychecks have to be earned, and just like North Carolinians and Americans across the country know, if you don't do your job, you don't deserve to be paid for it.

As you are aware, the issue of gun control and the Second Amendment has been at the forefront of our national dialogue lately. Some in Washington, including President Obama, are seeking to address violence in our society by restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms. This is not the right way to address this issue. I am open to having a conversation about ways in which our nation can address mental health issues and reduce violence, but I will not stand by while the President and others try to restrict the rights of law-abiding American citizens. I will fight any effort to further infringe on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, such as Senator Feinstein's proposed ban on so-called "assault weapons." Put simply, the proposals being put forward on based on emotions, and that isn't the way to legislate about anything.

Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a proposal to reform our nation's immigration laws. The following day, the President introduced his own proposal. I have long said that we need to reform our immigration laws, but the proposals outlined this week are just that - proposals. I will continue to review the details and the implications of these proposals, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate in hopes of reaching the kind of deal that will benefit our nation and the American people. One priority that must be addressed when we consider immigration reform is border security. Without a secure border we can never be a truly safe and secure nation.

In addition to consideration of these and other issues, the Senate continues to work its way through the confirmation process of the President's nominees to Cabinet positions.Yesterday's Armed Services Committee hearing on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense confirmed for me many of the concerns I had about the nomination. After reviewing the hearing, and Senator Hagel's answers to the questions put to him, it is clear that I cannot support his nomination and I will vote against his nomination should it reach the Senate floor.

I encourage you to stay up to date with what is going on in Washington by following @SenatorBurr on Twitter and by "liking" my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SenatorRichardBurr