Burr Announces Committee Assignments for 111th Congress

Multiple committee assignments touch on many issues impacting North Carolina families

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) announced his committee assignments for the 111th Congress. Allowing him to focus on many of the important issues facing North Carolinians, Senator Burr was re-elected to serve in his role as Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and will also continue to serve on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), and the Select Committee on Intelligence. Along with these positions, Senator Burr has also been assigned to the Committee on Armed Services. This new assignment will give Senator Burr additional opportunities to work directly with North Carolina's military communities with oversight over military research, development, and operations. Additionally, last week, Senator Burr was asked to serve as Chief Deputy Whip. In this role, Burr is responsible for helping to build support for the Republican legislative agenda and help communicate Republican solutions to the challenges facing our nation.

"It is an honor to be asked to serve on these committees, and I am looking forward to working more with our military communities through the Armed Services Committee," Burr said. "These committees oversee many important issues, from improving health care and education to making sure we take care of our veterans when they return home from war. I am looking forward to finding solutions to the many problems we face, and I look forward to using my newest committee assignment to benefit military families in North Carolina and across the country."

The Armed Services Committee is responsible for oversight over the Department of Defense, which includes the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force, as well as military research and development and national security aspects of nuclear energy. The committee oversees the annual military budget, which is close to $490 billion and includes installations, facilities and equipment around the world that support the over 2.3 million active-duty military personnel and over 700,000 civilians. North Carolina is home to seven military installations and has the fourth largest active-duty military and reserve population in the country. In 2007, military activities accounted for $23.4 billion, or 7 percent, of North Carolina's GDP. Currently, there are 101 Army Guard locations and 3 Air Guard locations in the state. It is projected that 49,000 new jobs will be created in North Carolina by 2013 as a result of increased military activity.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, a position he has held since 2007, Senator Burr leads the Republican Members of the committee with oversight over the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). VA is the second-largest agency in government with an annual budget of $96.9 billion and is responsible for the care of our nation's 23.4 million veterans, with nearly 774,000 veterans living in North Carolina. VA currently operates 153 Medical Centers, 745 Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), 225 VA Veterans Centers, and over 125 cemeteries around the world. In North Carolina, the VA operates major medical centers in Asheville, Durham, Fayetteville, and Salisbury. The VA also operates CBOCs in Charlotte, Hickory, Franklin, Hamlet, Greenville, Raleigh, Morehead City, Wilmington, and Jacksonville and an outpatient clinic in Winston-Salem. Outpatient clinics in Winston-Salem and Charlotte have been authorized to expand their services so that veterans do not have to travel so far for routine care. The VA also recently announced that they are opening new facilities in Edenton-Elizabeth City and Goldsboro in 2010 and clinics in Lumberton and Rutherfordton are scheduled to open this year.

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over energy and energy development, the National Park System, the National Trails System, the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and public lands. This committee has broad oversight over important issues like the development of a National Energy Policy, with responsibilities for all energy issues including oil and natural gas regulation and production (including the outer-continental shelf), nuclear energy research and facility regulation and construction, coal production and distribution, synthetic fuels research and development, and commercialization of new technologies including solar energy. The National Park System has an annual budget of over $2 billion and is responsible for over 84.6 million acres of land including 58 National Parks, 24 National Battlefields, Battlefield Parks, Battlefield Sites and Military Parks, 74 National Monuments and 10 National Seashores. North Carolina is home to twelve national parks, trails, battlefields, and historic sites totaling more than 394,000 acres, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) has jurisdiction over a broad range of issues such as education, labor, health care, and public health. Issues that are expected to come before the committee in the 111th Congress include health care reform, improving our nation's high school graduation rates, and food safety legislation. Senator Burr has served on the HELP Committee since he took office in the Senate in 2005.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was created to oversee the intelligence activities and programs conducted by the U.S. government and make sure activities conducted by intelligence agencies are legal, effective, and appropriate. The various intelligence agencies report to the committee and provide its members with the information necessary for Congress to make informed decisions affecting the security of the country.