05.10.13

Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

This week, the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform held a hearing that shed new light on the attack on our embassy in Benghazi and the Obama administration's subsequent handling and response. For the first time since the tragic events last September that resulted in the death of four Americans, we heard witness testimony from officials on the ground confirming that it was clear from the outset this was a pre-planned terrorist attack despite the White House and State Department's public statements insisting it was a spontaneous demonstration sparked by an inflammatory internet video. Furthermore, reports continue to surface that the Obama Administration altered talking points that were written by the intelligence community in order to remove references of terrorism and CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi the months leading up to the attack. All of this information is deeply concerning and it remains clear that the Intelligence Community's analysis was politicized and diluted by the Obama Administration before being provided to the American public. The American people deserve the truth and leaders who put national security concerns above politics. I commend the efforts of my colleagues who continue to investigate this matter and applaud the courage of the whistleblowers who stepped forward this week to provide their account. My colleagues and I on the Senate Intelligence Committee are furthering our own investigation and will continue to seek answers to the many remaining questions.

On Wednesday, the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee and I introduced legislation that would give veterans a COLA on their benefits, just like the folks who receive Social Security. The men and women who have suffered service-related injuries while serving our nation deserve to be compensated at a rate that reflects the current cost-of-living.Read more here.

In other news regarding veterans, during a Veterans Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, I pressed VA officials about failing to provide health care to Marines' families who have certain diseases and conditions as a result of exposure to contaminated well-water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. VA officials provided no adequate explanation for why they had turned their backs on these veterans' families. The men and women affected by the Lejeune contamination deserve health care, not the disregard the VA has so-far shown by the lag in service and denial of legitimate claims.

While many in the mainstream media have been transfixed by the Jodie Arias trial, I have been following the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist charged with murder and illegal abortion practices. The details of this trial are horrifying and I am deeply troubled by the reports of similar instances surfacing around the country. Therefore, this week I cosponsored a piece of commonsense legislation supporting investigation of illegal clinic practices. Lack of oversight at these facilities have led not only to the deaths of children and patients, but also the maiming of countless women. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats stopped the legislation from moving forward.Learn more here.

Finally, today is Military Spouses Appreciation Day. Many of us will never fully understand the difficulties that military spouses and their families endure on our behalf. Their selflessness and courage demonstrate the power of their patriotism. I hope that today every American takes the opportunity to thank military spouses in their communities. We must acknowledge their contributions and recognize the sacrifices they make so that their loved one can continue to fight to preserve our freedoms.

Sincerely,

Richard Burr