Burr: Problems facing nation are complex

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 04:25 PM

On Wednesday evening I joined a group of Republican Senators and the President for a discussion about our economy and our national debt.

The problems facing our nation are numerous, complex, and cannot be solved in a single night, but I am hopeful the President will work with Congress to fix our entitlement programs so they are viable for future generations of Americans and reform our tax code so that we can encourage economic growth, promote job creation, and provide a prosperous future for American families and businesses.

On Thursday, I introduced the Careers for Veterans Act, a bill that would help create long-term, sustainable jobs for America’s veterans.  This bill eases the transition of military-gained licenses and credentials in a veteran’s chosen field into the civilian workforce, helping them and their families by opening up career opportunities without adding to the national deficit.  More information here.

In other veterans news, I introduced a resolution to designate April 5, 2013 as “Gold Star Wives Day.”  This day provides an opportunity to honor the members of Gold Star Wives of America, a volunteer organization that has assisted widows and survivors of fallen military members since it was founded in 1945, and thank them for their untiring efforts and support.  To read more, click here.  Another resolution I introduced to recognize and honor family caregivers of wounded veterans passed the Senate unanimously on Thursday.

On Thursday, Senator Hagan and I reintroduced the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, a bill that would reinstate the Interim Management Strategy governing off-road vehicle use on Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) and set aside current mandates and requirements that prevent off-road vehicle (ORV) and citizen access to a significant portion of this National Seashore.

Restricting ORV use on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore negatively impacts local communities and the local economy.  We must not block our citizens’ access to North Carolina’s scenic treasures.  I am confident we can come to a compromise that allows people to have access while at the same time addressing any potential environmental concerns.

The Senate continued confirmation votes on the President’s nominees to serve in Cabinet positions this week.  On Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm John Brennan to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  I asked many direct questions of Mr. Brennan during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and he provided answers to those questions.  On Wednesday, Senator Paul initiated a filibuster of this nomination over the importance of due process of law as guaranteed in the Constitution.  I strongly support a Senator’s right to filibuster, and I am glad Senator Paul received the answer he was looking for from Attorney General Holder.

Last week, automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, took place without the catastrophic events that the White House announced would happen.  The Administration, which has discretion over how to implement these cuts, decided to make them where they would hurt Americans rather than cutting in real areas of need.  Instead of cutting the 1,362 duplicative programs (link) in the federal government, the President chose to cancel all visitor tours of the White House.  It has now been reported that suspending all tours will save less than $20,000per week.  To put that in perspective, the White House employs a calligrapher to the tune of $96,700 a year.

While the White House might be closing its doors to tours, the Capitol doors remain open and my office is more than happy to arrange a tour – please come and visit us. To arrange a tour,