Category Archives: Senator Burr

Senator Richard Burr Discusses the STOCK Act, Economy, Housing, Syria & Afghanistan with Jerri Jameson

In the radio interview below, Jerri Jameson sets the stage for Senator Richard Burr to feigns his outrage that the Congress would even consider passing a bill that Senator Burr says is unnecessary because Congress is already subject to the same law forbidding insider trading that everyone else is subject. Of course Senator Burr is among the few Republicans who voted against the Stock bill. However, Fox News, CBS (story), and Red State (story) contradict Senator Burr’s version of the truth. Members of Congress are in fact exempt from the insider trading law that every other citizen can be fined and jailed for violating. Another example of Senator Burr’s “I’m better than the rest of you” attitude? Senator Burr should be ashamed of himself once again, just as he should have been for his sponsorship of the Big Government growth plan of the Food Safety Act. Read the radio interview transcript below:

In case you missed it this morning, be sure to listen to Senator Richard Burr’s (R-NC) interview with Jerri Jameson on News Radio 570 WWNC.

Listen Here:
JAMESON: On the phone with me, I believe in Washington, is Senator Richard Burr.  Senator, how are you this morning?
BURR: Jerri, doing great, and I am in Washington.
JAMESON: I thought you might be.  There’s a lot going on, isn’t there?
BURR: Oh, another productive week.  I think the United States Senate has had one vote, and we’re going to be embattled in legislation all week, and probably next week, which does no more than codify what existing law says. 
JAMESON:  Now let me guess, you’ve got to be talking about the STOCK Act.
BURR:  I am.
JAMESON:  You know, I’ve asked some listeners for questions, and then I am mixing them in with some I have on my own, but that actually is something that somebody said, “Is it really necessary to pass law to make lawmakers follow laws that are already on the books?
BURR: It’s ludicrous.  That’s why Dr. Tom Coburn and I were the two brave souls that walked up and said we shouldn’t be doing this. We should be focused on jobs, the economy.  We should be taking up real legislation.  It’s like me saying to you, “Jerri, before you come to work this morning and you’re going to drive your car, I’m going to pass a law that says you have to have a driver’s license.”
BURR: I mean, it’s insane.
JAMESON: They just need to enforce laws that are already on the books.
BURR:  The laws that are currently on the books apply to all members of Congress and all staff, not limited staff.
JAMESON: Right, it prohibits government workers period from engaging in these financial transactions.
BURR:  So we’re going to have political theater this week as to whether it applies to the executive branch, whether it doesn’t.  The fact is SEC law applies to every person who trades in America.
JAMESON: You know, you pointed out that you were one of two who voted against it.  Of course now that’s being turned around that you two were the partisan ones.  But I agree with you that it’s kind of
ludicrous that we have a law on the books that does apply, as you said, to everybody who trades, and they have to codify it even more.  I want to get to unemployment, though, if we may.  North Carolina’s unemployment in December went up in 93 of 100 counties.  American Airlines, the third largest airline, announcing they are going to be laying off 13,000 employees in the next couple weeks.  Simple question, not so simple answer.  What needs to be done to get Americans back to work?

BURR: Very simply, Jerri, we need our policies to reflect the willingness of people with capital to invest in job creation.  Right now businesses are frozen because they don’t know what tax rate is going to be applied to them in the future.  They don’t know what regulatory architecture they’re going to have to live under.  Therefore, they can’t figure out whether it’s worth investing based upon what the return might be.  As long as we’ve got capital in that situation, then you will freeze private capital, and the only place, the only place, to create jobs will be in the public sector.  What we don’t need are more public sector jobs.  We actually need the reduction of the federal workforce.  We need to replace those and increase them with new jobs, new employment, in the private sector.
JAMESON:  Some are saying we need to obviously offer incentives for people of insource rather than outsource, with outsourcing of course being kind of the trend. 
BURR: Well, but Jerri, I think what we need to ask is what’s the reason for outsourcing?  The reason for outsourcing is that it’s cheaper to do business in other areas.  Every economist in the world and every review of the United States system today says that if we would do comprehensive, corporate tax reform  in the United States, get the corporate rate down to 25%, we wouldn’t have to have a debate about dividends or capital gains at a different rate.  We would be so competitive in the rest of the world that we would actually see insourcing, not by U.S. companies but by foreign companies coming here, and we would stop the outsourcing of U.S. companies. 
JAMESON:  That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
BURR: Well, I think it’s an easy fix.  But let’s face it, this is an election year, and the President would rather use corporations as the boogeyman for the election than he would as the secret to turning our economy around and creating jobs.
JAMESON: Well, speaking of the economy, obviously foreclosures, homeowners are struggling, the President this week expanding on his plan to allow homeowners, even those who owe more than their home is worth, to be able to refinance their homes, to take advantage of the low interest rates.  His plan calls for it to be paid for with an assessment on big banks.  I want to separate the plan and the funding of it, because I know Congress has not gone for bank assessments before.  But do you think giving homeowners more access to refinancing at the lower rates would be good for the housing market?  
BURR:  Jerri, I call it loan modification, and we ought to have been doing loan modification on any mortgages that the federal government, that the American taxpayer, was obligated for.  That’s all the Freddie & Fannie inventory, that’s all the FHA inventory.  But I don’t think it’s appropriate for the federal government to go into the private marketplace and tell private risk-takers, “Okay, we’re going to charge you a fee and you’re going to modify these loans.”  Smart financial institutions have already re-worked the loans that they think people have the capabilities of paying off.  The ones they haven’t re-worked are the ones where the individual probably never should have gotten the loan to begin with or the property was over-valued from the start.  It will, in their estimation over the life of the loan, never see revaluation.  That’s what the President’s attacking.  I think his own Administration has admitted out of the modifications that have already been made, almost 50% have gone back into foreclosure.  So this is not a panacea.  But I think what we need to try to do is re-structure the re-payments to where people have got 30 years versus 10 or 12 or 14.  None of us know when prices will re-inflate, but we all can agree to this.  The debt problem that we’re in in this country, as a country, as states, as localities, and as individuals, is going to take decades for us to work out from under.
JAMESON:  Well, you mention Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and I know there’s legislation under consideration that would stop the executives from getting their bonuses, the bonuses worth millions.  The measure would take the unpaid bonus money and go to paying the outstanding debt still from the 2008 taxpayer bailout.  Where do you stand on that?
BURR:  Listen, I don’t think that any corporate executive ought to be rewarded for bad performance.  In Freddie & Fannie’s case, that’s exactly what they’re doing.  Those that run it now argue that if they don’t
offer bonuses they don’t get talented people.  We’ve got a lot of talented people unemployed today that would love to be at Freddie & Fannie helping to turn it around, and a lot of them, if not all of them, come right out of the financial services industry.  So to suggest that they can’t attract the talent with the salary that’s already on the job without the bonus is just ludicrous.

JAMESON:  We’ve got just a couple more minutes, but there are two stories that are in the news today that I really do want to touch on.  One is the Arab League resolution calling on Syrian President Bashar al-
Assad to leave power.  Of course, the United States pushing for that, Russia opposing that.  Where do you see this going?  Is there concern of possible intervention by NATO and therefore the U.S.?

BURR:  It may be talked about in international circles, but I don’t think there’s concern within Syria or the Bashar al-Assad government.  They’ve got a firm handle on things.  They are running Syria just like his dad did when they had a genocide of 30,000 people.  Not 300 but 30,000 in one swoop.  I think that until we apply the correct amount of international pressure, until we really get aggressive on sanctions, until we cut them off from the rest of the world, than we’re going to see the Bashar al-Assad   government  try to hang on through the use of their military.
JAMESON: Lastly on my end, and then whatever you want to speak about of course we’ll open to you, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying that U.S. and its NATO partners will be ending their combat role in Afghanistan next year, switching from combat to training and advising of the Afghan forces.  So, a little earlier than originally planned or announced.  Is this a good strategy to be setting that kind of deadline?  I know there’s pros and cons to it, but or pulling it in sooner?
BURR: Jerri, yesterday I would have told you no, today I still tell you no.  I’m not sure what lead to the Secretary’s announcement late in the afternoon.  There was certainly no warning on Capitol Hill that I’m
aware of.  I think that all of the military plans have been developed based upon a date in 2014, and I was supportive of that.  But I think to accelerate that by a year may fit in the Secretary’s need for the budget constraints of the Department of Defense.  If we’ve got men and women that we’ve asked to go into a combat theater, I don’t want to run the war in that theater based upon what the budget says we can do.  I want to do it based upon whether we intend to win and if so, what we need to do to win.  

JAMESON: Alright, Senator Burr.  Thank you so much.  Anything else that you would like to touch on maybe for your constituents or listeners that we may not know is going on there in Washington?
BURR: Well, Jerri, there’s not a whole lot going on there right now.  We have seen Presidential politics start in an earlier period than ever in the 18 years that I have been involved in service.  I think it will continue to dominate the direction of the legislative debate up here.  I believe that means very little gets done this year, and that’s sad based on the financial condition of the United States.
JAMESON:  With that, Senator Burr, we thank you for your time.  We look forward to speaking with you regularly.

A Message from Senator Burr

I am honored to announce that I will be joining the Senate Finance Committee, and I thank Senator McConnell and the Republican Conference for allowing me the opportunity to serve on this important committee.
There is no aspect of our daily lives that is not touched by the laws and regulations that fall under the committee’s jurisdiction, from the tax code and our nation’s trade laws to health care and retirement security.  Regrettably, many of these laws and regulations have become so burdensome and complex that they are choking our nation’s economy, hampering job creation, and drowning our country in debt.  I look forward to working with my committee colleagues to address these critical challenges which I believe are among the most important of our time.
While taking the seat on Finance requires me to leave my seat on the Energy Committee, this new committee assignment will only serve to complement my current seat on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, particularly on health care and retirement security issues.  I have long made these issues a priority, and look forward to bringing my ideas and experience to the table at Finance.
Given the broad scope of Finance’s jurisdiction, and the critical importance of these issues to the day-to-day lives of all North Carolinians and all Americans, I look forward to the challenges that this new opportunity brings.
Also this week, I introduced a bill that holds the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable for funds saved through competitive bidding for major VA medical facilities. The legislation mandates that VA obtain congressional approval to expand the scope of a previously authorized project if it wishes to use funds saved as a result of a favorable bidding environment.
This is common sense and fair legislation that will apply any bid savings toward projects that are already on the waiting list. Congress can help VA maximize the use of the limited funding available for construction projects by properly allocating them where they are most needed.

Finally, I want to address a bill I introduced last week to increase efficiency and cut spending by combining the Department of Energy and the EPA into a single, streamlined agency.  This legislation would not make any changes to our nation’s pollution laws or energy policy, nor would it reduce current enforcement responsibilities. In his State of the Union address earlier this year, the President proposed merging and consolidating federal agencies, and this bill advances that proposal. I think we can all agree that decreasing administrative costs by combining duplicative support and administrative functions is a common sense way to reduce government sense spending.  You can read more about this bill by clicking here.
Stay tuned to my website, as well as my Facebook and Twitter pages, as the Senate debates important issues including budget reforms in the coming weeks.


U.S. Senator Richard Burr

Press Release from Senator Burr on Combining EPA and DOE

Below is a press release from Senator Burr on his sponsorship of legislation that would create a Mega-Government organization by combining the US Environmental Agency and the US Department of Energy.


May 5, 2011 – 3:52 PM

Burr Bill Cuts Spending, Increases Efficiency by Combining Dept. of Energy and EPA

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Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) introduced a bill that would consolidate the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency into a single, new agency called the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE).  The bill would provide cost savings by combining duplicative functions while improving the administration of energy and environmental policies by ensuring a coordinated approach.

“The amount of money wasted annually on duplicative programs within the federal government is staggering,” Senator Burr said.  “This common-sense approach will reduce duplicative and wasteful functions across these two agencies and streamline our approach to a comprehensive, coordinated energy and environmental policy.”

The DOEE would combine support and administrative offices of the two agencies and would take the recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to eliminate ineffective or duplicative programs.  Core functions of each agency would be maintained.

By implementing suggestions made by GAO and the President’s 2012 budget request, this bill could result in over $3 billion in savings in the next year alone.

Current co-sponsors of the legislation are: Jim Demint (R-SC), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), John McCain (R-AZ), Dan Coats (R-IN), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Barasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), David Vitter (R-LA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT).

A Message from Senator Burr, May 6, 2011

Below is a message from Senator Burr. Yet again, Senator Burr shows his “Big Government” propensity. Senator Burr cosponsored and voted for a huge increase in government with the passage of the Food Safety Act. Now he is sponsoring a bill to create a huge mega-government agency by combining the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. Never mind that except for a small portion of environmental remediation in the Department of Energy neither of these agencies have anything in common. Also, never mind that both of these agencies should be down-sized significantly instead of combined to create a single mega-government agency each which has shown to overstep their regulatory authority. Senator Burr continues to be completely out of touch with the direction we the people want to see our government head – which is to be much, much SMALLER!


A Message from Senator Burr

After a Congressional recess, I was back in Washington this week where, like they were all across the country, everyone was talking about the outstanding work of our Special Forces and the death of Osama bin Laden.  This is a major development in our fight against terrorism and proves our resolve to hold accountable those who harm American citizens.  However, we must remain vigilant and not lose focus on the overall mission and our goal of eradicating terrorist threats.  There still remains a dire threat posed by bin Laden’s followers and the seeds of hate he planted across the globe, and while we are immensely grateful for this victory, our work is far from over.  I spoke with several news outlets, both national and local, this week about this development.  To watch an interview I did with Fox’s Shepard Smith, click here.  To listen to my conversation on KZL’s Murphy in the Morning show, click here.
While the death of bin Laden understandably dominated most of the news this week, legislative business continued in the Senate.  On Thursday, I introduced a bill that would cut government spending and increase efficiency in federal agencies by consolidating the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency into a single, new agency called the Department of Energy and Environment.  This common-sense approach will reduce duplicative and wasteful functions across these two agencies and streamline our approach to a comprehensive, coordinated energy and environmental policy.  During this Congress, I will be introducing similar bills that combine other agencies in an attempt to reduce wasteful spending and increase government efficiency.  To read more about this bill, click here.
I also was proud to introduce a resolution designating today, May 6, as Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  This day is an opportunity to make sure that the spouses of the men and women in our military know that their fellow citizens recognize the sacrifices they make and appreciate their valuable contributions.  These spouses serve our country in unique ways and do so knowing that their loved ones may be in harm’s way, and the difficulty that they endure helps make our country stronger.  Thank you to the men and women who support our servicemembers.
On a similar note, I attended a reception yesterday honoring this year’s Military Spouses of the Year.  All five branches of the Armed Services bestowed the award on a spouse from their branch, and two were from North Carolina.  Crystal Cavalier from Cameron was the Spouse of the Year for the Army and Bianca Strzalkowski from Fuquary-Varina represented the Marine Corps.  Ultimately, Bianca was chosen as the Military Spouse of the Year for all the branches.  These spouses, along with the representatives from the Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard represent the millions of past and present military spouses who continue to show resilience in a wartime environment, dedicating their lives and families to the service of a grateful nation and give back to their communities.
Stay tuned as the Senate takes up FY2012 budget proposals, and hopefully important budget reforms, in the coming weeks.


U.S. Senator Richard Burr