Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

This week the Senate passed the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act, which I introduced in December as the Senate companion to Rep. Robert Pittenger's House legislation (H.R. 3627). This bill will require the Department of Justice to do a study on state child abuse penalties, which will serve as an important resource for determining if penalties are sufficient to protect children. Having passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate, this legislation will now move to the President's desk to be signed into law.

I cannot say enough how pleased I am that the Senate passed the Kilah Davenport Act, and I want to thank Representative Pittenger for his tireless advocacy on behalf of the family and the abused. I only regret Kilah did not survive to see her issue championed -- God bless her and her family. Read more here.

Next week, the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs will once again hold a hearing on the state of health care at VA facilities, with Secretary Shinseki expected to testify alongside other witnesses. Following the deaths in Phoenix, Shinseki called for a nationwide review of VA clinics on Thursday. During next week's hearing I hope that Secretary Shinseki will at long last own up to the problems at VA hospitals and health centers, explain why it took so long to acknowledge said problems, discuss what he is doing to fix those problems, and hopefully answer some tough questions about his leadership of the agency.

This recent report from Phoenix is one more on a pile of hundreds detailing alarming problems and avoidable deaths in VA facilities. For two years some of us on the committee have been waving flags and vocalizing the major problems the VA is facing, with little more than a letter in response. Our veterans deserve better than what the current regime is providing and I'm not sure we can accomplish anything with the current leadership.

On Tuesday, I joined my Republican colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee in sending a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen demanding answers as to how the IRS plans to prevent future bonus payments from being given to employees with conduct, performance, and tax compliance issues.

I hope the Commissioner will respond quickly and that a vote on my legislation introduced last week -- "No Bonuses for Tax Cheats Act" -- will take place in the near future, ensuring that this does not happen again. To read the text of the letter, click here. To read more about "No Bonuses for Tax Cheats Act," click here.