Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

Senator Richard Burr
2013-04-12 13:07:28
Richard Burr, US Senator North Carolina This week the President presented his budget and it seems he has heard some of our concerns, however the slight improvements reflected in his budget are over-shadowed by the hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending programs at a time when we can't even afford the government we already have. I have concerns with many aspects of the President�s budget, but one new proposal has me particularly concerned.� For the first time ever, the Obama budget is setting its sights on Americans' retirement savings accounts as a means of feeding more revenue to the government. �Americans should not be comforted by the Administration's claim that its proposal will only affect the "wealthy." �Let's be clear, retirement savings accounts cannot be a shelter for the wealthy because contributions to these accounts are already capped under current law, and individuals are subject to income taxes either on the money they contribute to a Roth account or withdraw from a traditional account. �Rather, the Obama plan specifically targets those Americans who have saved responsibly over their entire working lives, regardless of what their income is, and because it takes the radical step of going after account balances, it will subject all Americans who save even a cent toward retirement to unprecedented reporting requirements to the IRS.� This new proposal is a dangerous one that I will vigorously oppose. On another topic, on Tuesday, I introduced new legislation with Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) addressing burdensome student loans.� The �Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act,� provides a permanent solution to the problems created by temporary, arbitrary interest rates on federal student loans, unlike the many stop-gap measures that have been presented in the past. The bill requires that, for each academic year, all newly-issued Stafford, Graduate PLUS, and Parent PLUS loans be set to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate plus 3 percentage points. �Read more�here [link 1]. I also introduced a bill to protect war memorials on Thursday, with mirrored legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50). It is our duty to honor our veterans and their families, and American military memorials around the world�stand as testaments to their sacrifice. �Many of our men and women in uniform have strong religious convictions, often finding that their faith has played a role in their service.� This bill would recognize their beliefs by ensuring that religious symbols, regardless of affiliation, are allowed to be part of military memorials that commemorate those who served and sometimes paid the ultimate price in service to their country.� Finally, I�d like to speak about yesterday�s vote in the Senate to begin debate on S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013.� To be clear from the outset, I do not support S. 649, nor do I support the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment.� The vote yesterday was not on the specifics of these bills or whether they should be filibustered; rather, the vote was solely about whether we should begin a debate in the Senate on the issue.� Since the leadership of the Senate agreed to unlimited debate and amendments, I believed it was important that the Senate at least have an open discussion.� However, it is important to remember that S. 649, amendments to it, and any other gun control measures that come before the Senate are still subject to the filibuster, as well as up-or-down votes. � ������� Sincerely, ������� Richard Burr
April 12, 2013

This week the President presented his budget and it seems he has heard some of our concerns, however the slight improvements reflected in his budget are over-shadowed by the hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending programs at a time when we can't even afford the government we already have.

I have concerns with many aspects of the President�s budget, but one new proposal has me particularly concerned.  For the first time ever, the Obama budget is setting its sights on Americans' retirement savings accounts as a means of feeding more revenue to the government.  Americans should not be comforted by the Administration's claim that its proposal will only affect the "wealthy."  Let's be clear, retirement savings accounts cannot be a shelter for the wealthy because contributions to these accounts are already capped under current law, and individuals are subject to income taxes either on the money they contribute to a Roth account or withdraw from a traditional account.  Rather, the Obama plan specifically targets those Americans who have saved responsibly over their entire working lives, regardless of what their income is, and because it takes the radical step of going after account balances, it will subject all Americans who save even a cent toward retirement to unprecedented reporting requirements to the IRS.  This new proposal is a dangerous one that I will vigorously oppose.

On another topic, on Tuesday, I introduced new legislation with Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) addressing burdensome student loans.  The �Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act,� provides a permanent solution to the problems created by temporary, arbitrary interest rates on federal student loans, unlike the many stop-gap measures that have been presented in the past. The bill requires that, for each academic year, all newly-issued Stafford, Graduate PLUS, and Parent PLUS loans be set to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate plus 3 percentage points.  Read more  I also introduced a bill to protect war memorials on Thursday, with mirrored legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50). It is our duty to honor our veterans and their families, and American military memorials around the world stand as testaments to their sacrifice.  Many of our men and women in uniform have strong religious convictions, often finding that their faith has played a role in their service.  This bill would recognize their beliefs by ensuring that religious symbols, regardless of affiliation, are allowed to be part of military memorials that commemorate those who served and sometimes paid the ultimate price in service to their country. 

Finally, I�d like to speak about yesterday�s vote in the Senate to begin debate on S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013.  To be clear from the outset, I do not support S. 649, nor do I support the Manchin-Toomey background check amendment.  The vote yesterday was not on the specifics of these bills or whether they should be filibustered; rather, the vote was solely about whether we should begin a debate in the Senate on the issue.  Since the leadership of the Senate agreed to unlimited debate and amendments, I believed it was important that the Senate at least have an open discussion.  However, it is important to remember that S. 649, amendments to it, and any other gun control measures that come before the Senate are still subject to the filibuster, as well as up-or-down votes.  

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