07.23.10

A Mesage from Senator Richard Burr

This week in the Senate was a busy one, both on the Senate floor and in committees.

The Senate's debate on unemployment benefits continued this week.During that debate, I voted for an amendment that would extend those benefits while paying for them with cuts elsewhere in government.The Senate ultimately approved, however, and the President signed into law, a bill that requires us to borrow more money and add billions of dollars to our national debt.

On Tuesday, I attended an open hearing of the Select Senate Committee on Intelligence to consider the nomination of Jim Clapper to serve as Director of National Intelligence.Good intelligence is our first line of defense in protecting Americans from terrorism and other threats to our national security, so it is vital that this position be filled by a competent, experienced leader.Jim Clapper comes with a varied experience that offers great potential to that role, and I look forward to him being confirmed by the Senate.

The Energy and Natural Resource Committee marked up several interesting energy and land bills this week.We reviewed legislation covering a wide spectrum of approaches to increase energy efficiency and develop domestic energy resources, many of which now await consideration by the full Senate. I was particularly interested in bills that provide incentives for the development and deployment of electric vehicles.

Also this week, I signed a bipartisan letter with 15 Senate colleagues asking the Senate leaders to stop a movement to take $2 billion out of the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund, a fund set up to help us defend our country against disease outbreaks, both natural and man-made, in order to spend it on unrelated programs. The H1N1 flu pandemicreminded us of our responsibility to protect Americans from biological threats, but we are still way behind the curve in our ability to respond rapidly to them.This money was designed to help address this vulnerable area in our national security.

Finally, I am happy to announce that 34 days from today will mark the first ever Montford Point Marines' Day.On Thursday, the Senate passed legislation that I introduced this week to honor African-American Marines trained at Montford Point Marine Camp by declaring August 26, 2010 "Montford Point Marines' Day." This day is designed for Montford Point veterans, their families, and fellow citizens to take time to remember the honorable service of these Marinesand thank them for their patriotism and perseverance during segregation in the Marine Corps.

In the two weeks left before the August recess, the Senate is expected to consider the Kagan nomination and an energy bill offered by Sen. Reid.The text of the energy bill is not yet available, but I expect that it will address issues such as holding BP accountable, facilitating the use of natural gas vehicles, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the HOMESTAR program. I will update you about this bill as more information is released.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Richard Burr

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