|United States Senator
from North Carolina
January 3, 2005
Serving with Kay Hagan
|Preceded by||John Edwards|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th district
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2005
|Preceded by||Stephen L. Neal|
|Succeeded by||Virginia Foxx|
|Born||Richard Mauze Burr
November 30, 1955
|Spouse(s)||Brooke F. Burr|
|Residence||Winston-Salem, North Carolina|
|Alma mater||Wake Forest University (B.A.)|
Richard Mauze Burr (born November 30, 1955) is the senior United States Senator from North Carolina and has served since 2005. A member of the Republican Party, Burr previously represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2005.
As Senator, Burr has espoused most of the positions held by the majority of his fellow Republicans, including general support for President George W. Bush's actions in Iraq1 and opposition to abortion.2 However, he voted to repeal the military's don't ask, don't tell policy. In 2011, he announced his intention to seek the post of minority whip, the number two Republican position in the Senate,3 but he dropped out of that race in 2012.4
Burr was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of Martha (née Gillum) and Rev. David Horace White Burr, a minister.6 He graduated from Richard J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. in 1974 and earned a B.A. from Wake Forest University in 1978. Burr was on the football team at both Reynolds High School and Wake Forest. Burr lettered for the Demon Deacons during the 1974 and 1975 seasons; however, the team went winless in ACC play during his tenure.7 He is a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Prior to running for Congress, Burr worked for 17 years as a sales manager for Carswell Distributing Company, a distributor of lawn equipment.8 Burr is currently a board member of Brenner Children's Hospital, as well as of the group Idealliance - a group of local, academic, and government officials working to expand North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad Research Park,9
In 1984, Burr married Brooke Fauth; the couple has two sons.
Burr's father, a minister, said that Burr is a 12th cousin of Aaron Burr, the former Vice-President, Senator, lawyer, and Continental Army officer known most for defeating Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. He is the first Burr in the Senate—and only the second person with his last name to win election to Congress (the first being the presumably unrelated Albert G. Burr)—since Aaron.1011 Sen. Burr himself has stated that there are no longer any direct descendants of Aaron Burr, and that he descends from Aaron's brother. When queried, Burr states that he has tempered pride of the association: "I am [proud] ... though history has proved to shine a different light on him."12
In 1992, Burr ran against incumbent Democratic Representative Stephen L. Neal and lost. He ran again in 1994 after Neal chose not to seek re-election, and was elected to Congress during a landslide year for Republicans. He ran on a platform that advocated accountability for the federal government, lower health care costs, economic development, and strong school systems.13 Burr was elected by increasingly large margins during his term in the House, especially because of growing Republican trends within his district.
In July 2004, Burr won the Republican primary to seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat John Edwards, who launched a presidential campaign. He faced Democratic party nominee Erskine Bowles and Libertarian Tom Bailey.
Burr won the election by five percentage points. His and Bowles' combined campaign expenditures totaled over $26 million, making it one of the most expensive Senate races in the country. Burr raised more money from political action committees, $2.8 million, than any other Senate candidate in 2004, primarily from the business community.
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs (Ranking Member)
- Select Committee on Intelligence
- Congressional Boating Caucus (Co-Chair)
- International Conservation Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
- Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Caucus
Burr voted against the financial reform bill Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, which regulates credit default swaps and other derivatives (Senate vote 162 on May 20, 2010). In the June 26 debate he stated:
"I fear we're headed down a path that will be too overburdensome, too duplicative, it will raise the cost of credit....The balance that we've got to have is more focus on the products that we didn't regulate....more so than government playing a bigger role with a stronger hand".
In the fall of 2008, during that year's financial crisis, Burr described his response to problems in the U.S. financial system:
On Friday night, I called my wife and I said, "Brooke, I am not coming home this weekend. I will call you on Monday. Tonight, I want you to go to the ATM machine, and I want you to draw out everything it will let you take. And I want you to go tomorrow, and I want you to go Sunday." I was convinced on Friday night that if you put a plastic card in an ATM machine sic the last thing you were going to get was cash.17
This statement attracted considerable attention from the national press when an April 2009 story in the News and Observer made it more widely known.18 In late April, Burr told WFAE, a public radio station in North Carolina, "Absolutely I'd do it [again]." He said that "The exact situation we were faced with was a freeze bank to bank. And as I stated, my attempt was to make sure my wife had enough cash at home to make it through the next week." Burr also said that "It was not an attempt to run a bank," and "Nor was it a bank that was even considered then or now to be in trouble."19
In addition to his Congressional Oath of Office which states in part "I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter," Burr is a signatory of the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" which forbids him from raising taxes under any circumstances20
Burr has spent many years sponsoring legislation to stop the U.S. department of veterans affairs from adding the names of veterans to the National Instant Criminal System if the department has assigned a financial fiduciary to take care of their finances. Once your name is added to the NICS system, you are barred from purchasing or owning a firearm in the United States.21
On December 18, 2010, Burr voted in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.222324252627 The repeal would go on to end the core aspect of official Department of Defense employment discrimination against openly gay individuals. Burr and John Ensign were the only Senators who voted against cloture but voted in support of the final passage.28 Senator Susan Collins (R) of Maine who spearheaded the fractional Republican party support for the repeal expressed grateful surprise at Burr's joining her group in the final vote: "I think that was a gutsy vote" said Collins, "he was not someone who I thought to lobby." Burr strongly expressed his opposition to the timing of the vote, reasoning he said that the chaos of double wars warranted delay, but decided it was right to support the bill when the Senate decided to stop waiting.29
Burr is opposed to the legality of abortion, supports the death penalty, and favors a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He supports Second Amendment gun rights and voted against the 2013 legislation which would extend background checks to internet and gun show weapons purchases.30 He also co-sponsored a bill prohibiting the creation of human-animal hybrids.31
In May 2007, Burr was one of 14 Senators to vote against an Iraq War funding bill despite his strong support of the war, due to his opposition to the clauses of the bill that provided for an increase in domestic spending.32 In February 2009, he added an amendment to the proposed economic stimulus package that would end the automatic pay increases of Congress.33 Burr wrote on his Senate blog: "As the law is currently written, Congress has to hold a vote to disapprove an automatic pay raise. As you can guess, these votes don't happen too often."33
Burr is a member of the Subcommittee on Energy, which has responsibility to oversee regulators of the petroleum industry, and he is one of the top US Senate recipients of campaign contributions from that industry in 2010.34 In a Senate campaign debate on June 26, 2010, he defended deepwater oil and gas drilling following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and suggested that oil companies are forced into risky deepwater drilling by excessive regulation:
Thirty percent of the oil we use in this country comes from the Gulf of Mexico....Why are they drilling in deepwater? Because we chased them off of the shore. We chased them off the land, we put them in shallow water, we chased them out of shallow water, now they're in deep water. It comes with a greater risk.
Burr's statement conflicts with official statistics maintained by the US Energy Information Administration: in 2009, oil extraction from US offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico was 8.4% of oil consumed in the US; more than twice as much oil was extracted from US wells on land.35original research?
Burr has generally received low ratings from environmental protection organizations. In 2007–08, for example, he received a rating of 0% from Environment America,36 12% from the League of Conservation Voters, and 29% from Republicans for Environmental Protection.37
Burr was one of 21 senators who voted against the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.38 Supporters of this measure stated that its provisions enjoyed bipartisan backing in Congress and strong local support in the areas affected,39 and would protect millions of acres of wild land.4041 Opponents said that it was laden with expensive earmarks,42 that it precluded oil and gas production on large tracts of federal land,43 and that it would harm rural economies.44
The American Land Rights Association, a property-rights group45 generally opposed to the expansion of national parks and in favor of less restrictions on public lands, gave him a rating of 70 in 2007.37
Burr opposes the regulation of the tobacco industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).46 During the 108th Congress, Burr proposed the National Uniformity for Food Act, which would have banned states from forcing manufacturers to include labels other than those that are required by the Food and Drug Administration on consumables and health and beauty products.47 The Consumers Union opposed the bill, since it would have lowered safety regulations that are more stringent in certain states.48 A similar bill passed the House, but it died in the Senate.
Burr was the sponsor of Senate bill 1873, the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, nicknamed "Bioshield Two", which he says will give the Department of Health and Human Services "additional authority and resources to partner with the private sector to rapidly develop drugs and vaccines."49 Portions of Senate Bill 1873 were eventually included in Senate Bill 3678 (the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act),50 which was signed into law in December 2006.
Senator Burr is a vocal opponent of President Obama's healthcare reform bill, claiming that the President's health care proposal ignored the demands of the American people and will result in a Government takeover of individual healthcare decisions, increased taxes, and rationed care.51 Critics note that he was ranked second52 for senators to receive contributions to their campaign committees and leadership PACs between January and September from health and accident insurers and ranked first for funding from pharmaceuticals companies.52 According to the OpenSecrets.org server, Burr was the top recipient of money from the pharmaceutical lobby in 2009–10. During that period, Burr received $227,119.53 Burr voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,54 and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.55
As a representative, Burr co-sponsored, with Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2003 relaxing restrictions on the exports of specific types of enriched uranium, first enacted in the Schumer Amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The original Schumer amendment placed increased controls on U.S. civilian exports of weapons grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) to encourage foreign users to switch to reactor grade low-enriched uranium (LEU) for isotope production. HEU is attractive to terrorists because it can be used to create a simple nuclear weapon, while LEU cannot be used directly to make nuclear weapons.56
The primary agent in the weakening of the Schumer amendment was a Canadian company, MDS Nordian, which lobbied Burr to relax the previous restrictions on enrichment of HEU, due to the additional costs conversion to LEU would levy on their medical isotope production. Burr received $66,500 in campaign contributions for his 2002 congressional campaign from the nuclear industry, "making him the 7th highest recipient from the industry among all 435 members of the House of Representatives".5758
Burr defeated North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) on November 2, 2010 with 55% of the vote. He is the first Republican since Jesse Helms to be re-elected to the United States Senate from North Carolina. He also broke the "curse" that his seat held, being the first Senator re-elected to the seat since 1968 (when Sam Ervin won his final term).
|Year||Democrat||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1992||Stephen L. Neal||117,835||53%||Richard Burr||102,086||46%||Gary Albrecht||Libertarian||3,758||2%||*|
|1994||A. P. "Sandy" Sands||63,194||43%||Richard Burr||84,741||57%|
|1996||Neil Grist Cashion, Jr.||74,320||35%||Richard Burr||130,177||62%||Barbara J. Howe||Libertarian||4,193||2%||Craig Berg||Natural Law||1,008||<1%|
|1998||Mike Robinson||55,806||32%||Richard Burr||119,103||68%||Gene Paczelt||Libertarian||1,382||1%|
|2000||(no candidate)||Richard Burr||172,489||93%||Steven Francis LeBoeuf||Libertarian||13,366||7%|
|2002||David Crawford||58,558||30%||Richard Burr||137,879||70%|
|2004||Erskine Bowles||1,632,527||47%||Richard Burr||1,791,450||52%||Tom Bailey||Libertarian||47,743||1%||*|
|2010||Elaine Marshall||1,145,074||43%||Richard Burr||1,458,046||55%||Mike Beitler||Libertarian||55,682||2%|
- Politico: Richard Burr won't seek Republican whip
- 2010 Wake Forest University Football Media Guide, p. 167.
- "Richard M. Burr (R)". The Washington Post.
- U.S. Senate: Senators Home > Senator Richard Burr
- Durham Herald-Sun
- Burr is former veep's 12th cousin | newsobserver.com projects
- Miller, John J. (September 22, 2004). "A Burr duels for the Senate". National Review. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- burr.senate.govdead link
- newsobserver.com | Burr wants policy position
- Alexander elected to GOP’s No. 3 spot on Nashville City Paper
- "Burr Named Chief Deputy Whip". January 14, 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- James Shea (April 14, 2009). "Sen. Burr speaks on economy". Times-News.
- Beckwith, Ryan Teague. "As crisis loomed, Burr told wife: Empty ATM" News and Observer 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- Eric Zimmermann (May 1, 2009). "Burr on bank flap: I'd do it again". The Hill.
- "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers" (PDF). Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- Foley, Elise (December 18, 2010). "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Passes Senate 65-31". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- "Senate Vote 281 - Repeals 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". The New York Times.
- Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
- Toeplitz, Shiera (December 18, 2010). "Eight Republicans Back Repeal". Politico.
- Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate’s Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
- U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote
- Barrett, Barb (2009-02-06). "Burr: Congress should feel pinch too". News & Observer.
- "Oil & Gas: Top Recipients"
- "EIA Petroleum Statistics" US Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- Frishberg, Ivan and Eric Reeves. Environment America Congressional Scorecard 2009. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
- "Interest Group Ratings: Senator Richard M. Burr (NC): Environmental Issues". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "Voting Record: Senator Richard M. Burr (NC): Environmental Issues". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- "The Nature Conservancy Urges Passage of Omnibus Public Lands Management Act". The Nature Conservancy. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- Karpinski, Gene. "Support S.22" (letter to U.S. House members). League of Conservation Voters. 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- Slater, Dave. "Wilderness vote down to the Wire: House passage of long-awaited legislation looks uncertain". The Wilderness Society. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- "Dr. Coburn Calls Omnibus Lands Package a Return to Business As Usual". Tom Coburn, M.D. (U.S. Senate website). 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- Josten, R. Bruce. "To the members of the U.S. Senate". Reproduced at Tom Coburn, M.D. (U.S. Senate website). 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- "Oppose Omnibus Land Grab Act of 2009". Save the Trails. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- "Winter supplies head to Alaska family feuding with Park Service - AP Worldstream". Highbeam.com. 2003-10-11. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Craver, Richard (2008-11-10). "Burr, Hagan promise to work for N.C.". Winston-Salem Journal.
- "S. 3128 [109th]: National Uniformity for Food Act of 2006". GovTrack.us. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "CU opposes the "National Uniformity for Food Act"". Consumersunion.org. 2006-02-15. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- MediaMonitors.net — 'Pharma To Republicans — Time To Pay Up Again', Evelyn Pringle (November 24, 2005)
- Senate Bill S 3678 of the 109th Congress
- "Richard Burr, United States Senator North Carolina". United States Senate. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- "Stakeholders in Health Insurance Reform Debate Gave Big to Senators - Capital Eye". OpenSecrets. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- Pharmaceuticals / Health Products
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Kuperman, Alan J. (October 9, 1998 [August 29, 1996]). "Civilian Highly Enriched Uranium". Nuclear Control Institute. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- Kuperman, Alan J. (November 8, 2005). "Weaker U.S. Export Controls on Bomb-Grade Uranium: Causes, Consequences, and Prospects". Nuclear Control Institute. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- "Nuclear Industry PAC Contributions to the Members of the 108th Congress". Hot Waste, Cold Cash. Public Citizen. May 20, 2003. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- U.S. Senator Richard Burr official Senate site
- Burr for Senate official campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Profile at Ballotpedia
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at Roll Call
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- Profile at The News & Observer
- Profile at SourceWatch
|United States House of Representatives|
Stephen L. Neal
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 3) from North Carolina
Served alongside: Elizabeth Dole, Kay Hagan
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Senators by seniority
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for Senator from North Carolina (Class 3)