05.02.14

Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

Earlier this week, I introduced the "No Bonuses for Tax Cheats Act" with Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. This legislation is in response to the news that the IRS awarded $2.8 million in bonuses to employees who participated in illegal behavior -- including fraud, drug use, and failing to pay their taxes. The "No Bonuses for Tax Cheats Act" would bar the IRS from paying out bonuses to bureaucrats who are delinquent on their taxes or were found to have engaged in misconduct.

Government employees who choose not to follow the law they are entrusted to enforce are a threat to the integrity and mission of the IRS, and they should not be sheltered or rewarded in any way. It is my hope that the Senate will swiftly adopt this commonsense, bipartisan piece of legislation so that misconduct is no longer rewarded at taxpayer expense. Read more here.

On Wednesday, Senator Begich, Senator Sanders, and I introduced bipartisan legislation to increase benefits to veterans to keep up with the cost of living. Our nation's veterans selflessly gave themselves to defend our freedoms, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we provide them with the benefits and services they need and deserve. The bill would make a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) available to veterans at the same level as the increase provided to Social Security beneficiaries -- this is one way we can help make sure we are keeping true to our promise to our nation's veterans and their families. Read more here.

The Senate voted on the Democrats' 40 percent minimum wage hike this week. After Wednesday's release of first quarter GDP numbers, it should be plenty obvious why it is reckless for Senate Democrats to continue to pursue job-killing policies. A study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showed that the Democrats' minimum wage hike would result in the loss of 1 million American jobs and increase the cost of goods and services for families all across our nation. It's time to get people back to work, not killing jobs with bad policies.

The Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a hearing on "Overmedication: Problems and Solutions." You can watch the full hearing here or read my opening statement here.

I did not have a chance to share this at this week's hearing but I would just like to express my frustration and deepest concerns regarding the serious allegations that have been made about the VA's Phoenix Healthcare System. It is extremely critical that the Department take these allegations seriously and that the Office of Inspector General conducts a thorough investigation of any departmental wrongdoing or delays that cost veterans their lives. I will continue to insist on information on the progress of these investigations and the steps that must be taken to ensure this does not happen again.

The Senate may have been in recess last week, but it was busy in the state. To see my full public schedule, you can visit my website.

Concerned Veterans for America invited me to join them for their Defend & Reform series in Raleigh last Wednesday. Our panel included Stephen Hayes from The Weekly Standard, Ilario Pantano, Director of the North Carolina Division of Veterans' Affairs, Darin Selnick, Advisor for Concerned Veterans for America, and Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans for America. Our discussion focused on reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs and making sure that our nation's veterans are receiving the care they deserve. You can watch the full event here.

Bill LuMaye and I sat down in-studio last week for an almost hour-long conversation that ranged from veterans, to Keystone XL, and Ukraine. To listen to the segment, click here.

While I was in North Carolina I had the pleasure of visiting Athens Drive High School and meeting the school's bright young men and women. You can see a clip of my visit here.

Thursday of last week, I joined U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in Charlotte as their keynote speaker. At this event I discussed America's role in the global community and why what happens in the world impacts our security and economy right here in North Carolina. To watch my keynote address or read the transcript, click here.