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May 31, 2010

An Open Letter to President Obama : Veterans Today

An Open Letter to President Obama : Veterans Today

May 30, 2010

Congress pushes military for data on tainted water - - May 29, 2010

Lejeune Water Contamination News
Congress pushes military for data on tainted water - - May 29, 2010

My wish for this Decoration day is for the spririts of our lost Patriot souls to find a home in hearts new Patriots who will carry on the torch of Freedom for our country. May they be at peace.
May we have peace. ~Dea Hayes

May 29, 2010

Bill seeks military transparency on tainted water -

Bill seeks military transparency on tainted water -

Congress pushes military to release data on Camp Lejeune water - Politics AP -

Congress pushes military to release data on Camp Lejeune water - Politics AP -

Members Hail House Action to Obtain Answers for Our Camp Lejeune Military Families Exposed to Toxic Water

Members Hail House Action to Obtain Answers for Our Camp Lejeune Military Families Exposed to Toxic Water

May 28, 2010

Email from Sen Richard Burr- Lejeune water contamination update

This has been another busy week in Washington, and the U.S. Senate tackled some important issues. First, the good news.

Two amendments that I introduced and are of particular interest to North Carolina were approved in committee this week. The first amendment responds to the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) discovery that the Department of Navy has failed to disclose significant information and documents about the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The Navy must now work with officials at ATSDR to reconcile the information of both groups and to ensure that all documentation related to the water contamination is made available to ATSDR within a specific time frame.

Secondly, I’ve heard from many of you who are concerned about the building of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in areas of North Carolina and Virginia. In response, I drafted an amendment that prevents the Navy from initiating the construction of an OLF until the Secretary of the Navy has provided the defense committees with reports that delineate the impact that the OLF will make on the area and demonstrate a real need for such a field. I am pleased this amendment was also approved.

In other positive news for our state, I am always pleased and proud to welcome fellow North Carolinians who come to Washington to testify before Congress on important issues. On the education front, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee welcomed Henrietta Zalkind, Executive Director of the Down East Partnership for Children in Rocky Mount, to a hearing on the importance of early childhood education and child care. While on Capitol Hill, Zalkind shared with us about her experiences in North Carolina, and specific steps Congress can take to improve the quality of early childhood education so that all children regardless of background, are able to succeed in school, college, and the future workforce.

On a more somber note, this week, our national debt reached $13 trillion dollar mark. It is abundantly clear that business as usual in our government must stop. I have co-sponsored several bills that would cut government spending, but many of these failed to garner enough support to be approved. Our budget deficits are a tremendous threat to our nation’s future. We must work together to prevent our children from having to pay off more debt simply because we are afraid to make tough choices about our priorities. The current debt crisis in Europe should be a wake-up call to all of us that we must start making hard choices now.

In this regard, last night, the Senate voted to approve the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010. Originally intended as a bill to fund our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, by the time this bill got to the floor of the Senate, it was full of spending that is completely unrelated to our troops. I have always been proud to support funding for our troops and our national defense. However, I am disappointed that this year, the supplemental funding bill is – once again – filled with unrelated spending that is not paid for with cuts elsewhere in the budget. I am especially disappointed that money is being taken away from our U.S. veterans to send money overseas. I supported amendments that would have improved the bill and covered its $60 billion cost, but unfortunately, these amendments were once again rejected by the majority in the Senate. I voted against this bill as it takes our country even closer to the edge of financial collapse.

Finally, I am pleased that on June 4, I will be speaking at the North Carolina Disabled American Veterans Convention in Raleigh. I look forward to talking with our brave veterans and answering their questions, and I hope to see some of you there.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend. Take a few moments to remember all those who have lost their lives so that we could enjoy this time off with our families in freedom.


U.S. Senator Richard Burr

May 7, 2010

Report to President Obama links cancer, Lejeune contamination | president, report, lejeune - News - Jacksonville Daily News

Report to president links cancer, Lejeune contamination president, report, lejeune - News - Jacksonville Daily News

President signed the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 into law on May 5th

From the Email of Senator Richard Burr, NC-

As you know, this newsletter has been on a temporary hiatus since March due to Senate rules which prohibit Senators from sending out a newsletter for 60 days prior to an election. With the North Carolina primary behind us, I can once again communicate with you via this newsletter.

April and May in Washington have been big months for veterans. On Wednesday, May 5,at a White House ceremony, the President signed the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 into law. The bill establishes new assistance for the family caregivers of seriously disabled veterans, including training and certification required to meet the veteran’s needs, access to ongoing support services, counseling and mental health services, respite care, medical care, and a monthly personal caregiver allowance. Two years ago, I started working with the Wounded Warrior Project, Sarah and Ted Wade from Chapel Hill, and Eric and Ed Edmundson from New Bern to put this bipartisan legislation together with Veterans Committee Chairman Danny Akaka. This was the culmination of a long journey, and a testament to the persistence of these and other veterans and families.

This bill also included some other provisions I am proud to have worked on. One is a provision for basic dental insurance coverage for veterans, modeled after a Tricare program. We must serve our veterans with the same dignity and honor that they served our country, and their advocacy is a critical part of the policy-making process.

On Wednesday, April 28, I had a chance to greet thirty veterans and active duty servicemember cyclists at the finish line of the DC Wounded Warriors Soldier Ride on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The Wounded Warrior Solder Ride began at the White House, and the vets rode through the District before arriving at Capitol Hill. Four North Carolinians participated in the Soldier Ride. Their participation provided them an opportunity to showcase their remarkable recovery and at the same time, through their visibility, advocate for positive changes in benefits and veterans policy.

As I’ve seen through my work on theCaregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act, the spouses of wounded veteran soldiers share in the hard work and courage rehabilitation often requires. But often, their role as a military spouse requires them to also sacrifice their career and opportunities to add to their families’ financial well-being due to frequent relocations.

That’s why I introduced the Spouse Employment Act in the Senate on April 20. This bill encourages employment of military spouses by expanding Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include military families. The WOTC is an existing federal tax credit and has been a powerful tool in promoting employment. Should my bill become law, employers of military spouses would be able to claim a tax credit of 40% of the first $6,000 in wages paid during the worker's first year of employment.

In addition to veterans issues, another big issue we have focused on recently in Washington is financial regulatory reform. The current financial crisis has made it abundantly clear that we must modernize and strengthen our regulatory framework in a way that ensures accountability, enforcement, and transparency. I am 100% committed to updating our financial regulatory system, but unfortunately the bill currently being debated could lead to more taxpayer-funded bailouts. I am also concerned that it does nothingto address the risk posed by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two major contributors to the financial meltdown. In fact, according to this report from the Associated Press, Freddie Mac asked for another $10.6 billion in assistance from the taxpayers this week.

I will continue to work with my colleagues to see what we can do to improve the current bill so that it will benefit our economy, increase transparency, and not stifle growth. At the same time, I refuse to vote for a poorly crafted bill. Please check back to my website for updates on our progress.

Finally, I am proud to say that Congress has taken a step, albeit a small one, in the right direction towards restoring some level of fiscal responsibility by stopping its automatic pay raise for 2011. Under current law, Congress automatically gets a pay increase every year unless it votes to disapprove of the raise. I’m opposed to these automatic raises as I don’t think it’s right for Congress to receive an automatic salary increase when the American people are struggling, and especially when seniors on Social Security and veterans did not receive a cost-of-living increase this year. This month, the Senate took a step in the right direction by passing a bill I cosponsored along with Senator Feingold (D-WI) that will block a raise for 2011. The next step: repeal automatic pay raises for Congress for good.

U.S. Senator Richard Burr

*Please do not respond to this email address. To contact me please click here, or visit my website