09.12.14

Legislative Update From Senator Richard Burr

Message From Senator Burr

This week, the Senate was back in session after a productive work period in the state.  You can visit my Facebook page and see some of the highlights of my August meetings and events.  Thank you to all of the businesses and groups that hosted me.

Wednesday, the President shared with the nation his strategy for handling ISIL.  Publically and privately, I have shared my thoughts on the group --  ISIL is a capable, well organized, and well financed organization that has taken over more geographic territory than any terrorist group in recent history.  If the President had taken decisive action to address this threat in its infancy, we would not be facing the extremist army that is overrunning Iraq today.  They cannot be simply contained or maintained – they must be totally eliminated.

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on the “State of VA Health Care” focusing on the most recent IG report, released last month, on the problems at the Phoenix VA facility.  This hearing was also a follow up to one held in July with the same title.

During my opening statement, I noted two particular pieces in the IG report – first, that the report outlines a lack of follow-up, coordination, quality, and continuity of care of veterans at the Phoenix facility and secondly -- the most troubling piece -- the VA's awareness of the ongoing scheduling challenges that many facilities faced.  Read my opening statement here.

After each of our opening statements were read, the committee heard from Richard Griffin, acting Inspector General for VA. 

You can watch my full exchange with Richard Griffin here or by clicking below.

We also heard from Secretary Robert McDonald, who was confirmed at the end of July.  I was especially interested in hearing his plans to change the culture at VA and how he would measure that change.  You can see his answer, along with the full exchange, by clicking here or below.

Yesterday, legislation I cosponsored that would increase veterans’ benefits to keep up with the cost of living passed the Senate by unanimous consent.  There is no group of Americans to whom we owe more than our nation’s veterans.  It is our responsibility to ensure that we provide them with the benefits and services they need and deserve.  Read more here.

Finally, this week, our nation somberly remembered the 13th anniversary of 9/11.  You can read my remarks here.