Now that we have settled into the 112th Congress, this week saw the re-introduction of bills that did not receive a vote last Congress as well as the establishment of many committee leadership positions.
Earlier this week, an amendment was offered by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill that President Obama signed into law last year. This law, marketed as health care reform, expands the size of the federal government and actually increases health care costs rather than lowering them as its supporters promised. The new law is not only bad for our economy; it is bad for American families who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Unfortunately, this amendment failed, but we will not stop working to repeal and replace the new health care law with real reform. To read more about efforts to repeal this law and to learn about some of its negative consequences, click here.
I was also pleased to be reelected to serve as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Committee. As the Senator from a state that more than 765,000 veterans call home, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as the Ranking Member of this committee. We must continue to pursue sound policies that address the evolving needs of our veterans and their families while also making sure that we are getting maximum results from programs already in place. I look forward to working with the new Committee Chairman, Senator Murray, and all the members of this Committee to address these complex, but vital issues.
It comes as no surprise that the first bill that I introduced in the 112th Congress is related to my work on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Yesterday, I reintroduced the Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide health care to veterans and their family members who have experienced adverse health effects as a result of exposure to well-water contaminated by human carcinogens at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
I introduced this bill the 111th Congress, but it never made it out of Committee. We now have another shot at doing the right thing for the thousands of Navy and Marine veterans and their families who were harmed during their service to our country. While we continue to seek more answers, we can minimize further suffering by allowing Lejeune veterans and their families to receive the care they need and deserve.
After a busy week in Washington, I am back in North Carolina to speak at the Tobacco Growers of North Carolina’s annual meeting in Raleigh today. Next week, the Senate will be in session and I will be back in Washington. Stay tuned to my website and Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter for updates from Washington.
U.S. Senator Richard Burr
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