12.13.11

Senator Richard Burr Discusses Payroll Tax, Government Waste & Accountability & More with Bill LuMaye

Click here to listen to my interview with Bill LuMaye on News Radio 680 WPTF: http://bit.ly/1vjxKL

FULL TRANSCRIPT

LuMaye: Sir, thank you for taking time for us. Welcome to the show.

Burr: Bill, good afternoon. Greetings from the airport, which seems to be a Monday routine.

LuMaye: I bet it is. Speaking of airports - this drone thing. The President asked Iran for the drone back. Are you surprised they said no?

Burr: I'm not surprised. I might be surprised if it was still there and not in China or Russia by now.

LuMaye: Yeah, don't we have a self-destruct button on those things?

Burr: No, Bill, we don't. It's a very difficult item to destruct. It's not as much the technology because it's fairly old technology. I know that's hard to believe, but we're still trying to assess what might be accessible from a data standpoint. Most of the activity off of that we handle in a different way than storage on the unit itself. Though this is an unfortunate thing, we feel fairly confident about what might be jeopardized.

LuMaye: Well that's good news. So this payroll tax holiday, that President Obama would like to extend, and how people like you are standing in the way of people, just middle class, poor people, what's going on with that, Senator?

Burr: Well, it's real simple. I can't think of anything that's probably more stupid than to take an entitlement, a trust fund, that currently is not financially sustainable, and to say to people don't pay your share in, we'll just forego it. And the federal government will do a smoke and mirrors thing where we put the money in and then we take the money out and we take another IOU. This is what people have complained about for years. If we believe, and I think we could make the case, that a stimulus right now would be good for an anemic economy and for one that could be directly affected by Europe, then Bill, let's write people a check.

LuMaye: Yeah!

Burr: We don't need to play this game where the President suggests that everybody is getting $1000. No, in fact, the people who are high income might be getting a little over $1000, but the people who really need it aren't getting near $1000. I think if we wrote them a check we could make the amounts out to the right thing and say to high income people, you know, you don't get one. I think we've got the capability to do it, but to have a debate on whether we should fund social security or not, I think it's ridiculous.

LuMaye: Well I do too, but the message doesn't seem to be getting out. I had a Democrat call the show last week, and she said, "why aren't the Republicans talking about this, that it's coming right out of our retirement fund?" She was livid about it. She didn't like the idea.

Burr: Bill. We've been screaming about it, but part of the problem is our own leadership here in Washington is scared to death not to extend this because the President's got the bully pulpit. You know, I just gave a speech in Raleigh before I left there, at lunch, where I said, you know, it's time for us to do the right thing. This is not Republican or Democrat. Do the right thing. Let's all take the lumps where we're going to take them, and if that means you don't get re-elected, hey, you don't get re-elected. If we start doing the right thing, generations to come are going to benefit from that.

LuMaye: Yeah. I think that could not be more true than today. You also came up with something that's a bipartisan group of Senators, and you're included on this, and I really like this idea. This Taxpayers Right to Know Act. Can you tell us just a little about that, and how and why folks should be excited about this?

Burr: Well we just believe there ought to be more transparency in what's going in Washington. It starts with the taxpayers understanding where their money's going to, what it's being spent for, and how we utilize it. This is a small step, and I think you would agree this is simple. This makes a lot of common sense. You can't believe how much opposition we're going to have to passage of that.

LuMaye: Yeah, and this is simply just finding duplicate programs and ending them, which makes perfect sense.

Burr: See, when you tell people what it is, they sort of look at you and go, well why did you have duplicative programs to start with?

LuMaye: Right.

Burr: In the case of some areas, we've got 17 programs that duplicate each other. Those are the types of things we've got to get into. We've got to achieve those savings, and by getting those savings, we're able then to have less money that we have to borrow.

LuMaye: I want to ask you then, we've got 90 seconds left, I want to ask you about this. It's a pretty big deal for a lot of folks, this Defense Appropriations bill, where there was this exchange with Rand Paul and McCain on taking citizens and arresting them and putting them away without due process. What are your thoughts on that?

Burr: Well, quite simply, I think that the way that the legislation is written, all we did was codify existing policy in the law. I respect Rand but I think he's reading it incorrectly. I think that the current way that it's written, U.S. citizens protect all their rights. The fact is, we've got this, I call it gray area, it's just an area where we haven't been into before, where we've got American citizens who have become radicalized. The question is, how do we handle them while maintaining the capabilities of full interrogation of them? That's the gray area that we're trying to address. I think we've done it while protecting the rights of those U.S. citizens. For non-U.S. citizens, we ought to keep the same policies we've got, we've just got to have an area where we will detain them. We'll continue to interrogate them for some time. But they still get some rights in the U.S. judicial system as we know through the Supreme Court ruling.

LuMaye: Well, Senator Richard Burr, I'm out of time. You have a safe trip back to Washington. We appreciate you giving us a little bit of time today.