04.22.16

Senator Burr Wins Five Major Legislative Victories This Week

WASHINGTON – This week, the Senate advanced five key pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). An amendment protecting the Corolla Wild Horses passed by voice vote and a provision permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which was included in the Energy Policy Modernization Act, was passed by an 85-12 vote. Three Burr amendments were included in legislation passed by the Finance Committee on Wednesday: two amendments that will clean up misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service and a provision that returns funds to veterans whose disability severance payments were improperly taxed.

Senate Floor

Corolla Wild Horse Protection Act – This amendment, cosponsored by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), will take actions to ensure the genetic diversity and viability of the herd so that these horses are not lost forever. The amendment also allows the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to manage the herd at no cost to taxpayers. The amendment passed by voice vote, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) did vote neigh.

Burr Corolla

WATCH: Burr: If we don’t act now we could lose these horses

Land and Water Conservation Fund – Permanent reauthorization for this fund passed the Senate as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Senator Burr has led the charge to bring awareness to the importance of LWCF and to ensure that this fund is renewed. Established in 1964, the LWCF is one of America’s most successful federal conservation programs, conserving irreplaceable lands and improving outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the nation. It requires no taxpayer funding.

When the LWCF authorization expired in September, Senator Burr fought for a three year fix until a permanent authorization could be paired with the Energy bill.  Conservation advocates cite Burr’s unwavering commitment and leadership to LWCF as a key factor in this success. In addition to delivering remarks on the floor, Burr has penned op-eds in the Charlotte Observer and Greensboro News and Record on the need to protect North Carolina’s natural treasures by reauthorizing LWCF.

Finance Committee

 In addition to the two items that passed on the Senate floor, three Burr amendments were included in the Tax Payer Protection Act that passed the Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2016 – This bill addresses unsettling evidence uncovered by the Treasury Watchdog that the IRS repeatedly rehired employees who were fired for poor conduct and performance after a lengthy examination process. This legislation will require the IRS to stop this practice. The watchdog’s report even found that an employee who had “Do Not Rehire” stamped on their personnel file was rehired.

In February, Sen. Burr penned an op-ed and confronted IRS Commissioner Koskinen about this disturbing practice.

IRS Accountability Act of 2015 – This legislation will keep IRS bureaucrats accountable to the American people by giving the IRS Commissioner new authority to fire senior executives who have failed in their performance or committed misconduct. This legislation is based on a law Congress passed in the wake of the VA health care scandal that enables the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to fire senior executives for misconduct. 

Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016 – Veterans who suffer combat-related injuries and are separated from the military receive a one-time disability severance payment that is supposed to be tax-free. However, in many cases, the Department of Defense has improperly withheld taxes from these payments. Veterans are typically unaware that their benefits were reduced as a result of DoD’s actions. This amendment instructs DoD to identify veterans who have been improperly taxed and work with the Department of Treasury to return the money.