The rap on Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) as a campaigner is that he's lazy. At least, that's what his Republican colleagues and operatives in Washington say, attributing his endangered Senate seat to a less-than-aggressive campaign. Maybe that's because they know him so well. A Democratic research firm spent some time exploring Burr's Senate record, and yeah, he's been pretty lazy there. Like, only showing up for about a third of hearings and meetings for the committees he sits on.
To be precise, records of votes and senators speaking in those committee meetings during his term in office show he was missing 67 percent of the time—his name did not appear as speaker on transcripts or in voting records of 841 of 1,257 hearings. Like, two-thirds of the time he's not there. And it's not just any old boring legislative hearing he's missing.
In the Armed Services Committee, his name is missing from the records of 65 percent of available Armed Services Committee hearings. He also sits on the special Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or has his name on the roster anyway. He appears to have missed 100 percent of those hearings. Some of the national security kinds of hearings he's missed include this one, from March 10, 2010: “U.S. Government Efforts to Counter Violent Extremism.” Apparently the nation's response to violent extremism is compelling enough to get Burr to show up. Nor was this hearing on June 10, 2015, in the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Hearing: "Wanted: Foreign Fighters—The Escalating Threat of ISIL In Central Asia." In that vein, he also skipped out on "Current and Future Worldwide Threats to the National Security of the United States," on March 10, 2009.
As for service members? He skipped this hearing on June 22, 2010: "The Progress in Preventing Military Suicides and Challenges in Detection and Care of the Invisible Wounds of War." He also missed 40 percent of Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings, including: "Is the VA Prepared to Meet the Needs of Our Returning Vets?" on July 6, 2005; Mental Health Concerns for Veterans on April 25, 2007; and "VA Mental Health Care: Evaluating Access and Assessing Care" on April 25, 2012.
He also apparently is not concerned about workplace violence, early childhood education, or the continuing needs of workers and communities affected by 9/11. Oh, and this—"Confronting the Looming Fiscal Crisis"—in June 2012.
Kind of makes you wonder what it is Burr is doing in the Senate, beyond getting rich.
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