Dr. Burgess Weekly Video Address: The Case For a Flat Tax
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 17, 2014

 This week, Dr. Burgess discusses his legislation to enact a Flat Tax. To read a copy of his remarks, click here
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Burgess, Colleagues Ask Sec. Kerry to Urge Nato, OSCE to End All Defense Contracts with Russia
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 15, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today joined 10 other members of Congress in asking Secretary of State John Kerry to urge NATO member countries and participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to end all defense contracts with Russia in response to the country’s illegal annexation of Crimea and violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. 

“We believe the United States must show leadership by terminating all defense contracts with Russia and ask that you strongly encourage our NATO allies and OSCE participating states to take similar actions,” the members of Congress wrote. “We urge you to lead the coordination among NATO and OSCE to halt trade involving military equipment with Russia immediately. We believe this is a crucial step in reestablishing a deterrent against further Russian aggression and strengthening the impact of our targeted economic sanctions against Russia.” 

In addition to Burgess, the letter was signed by  U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Daniel Coats (R-IN), Chris Murphy (D-CN), David Vitter (R-LA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and U.S. Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Joe Pitts (R-PA).

The full text of the letter is attached and below. 

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:  

We write to express our support for NATO’s decision to suspend military and civilian cooperation with Russia. We also ask that you further urge both NATO member countries and participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to work cooperatively to cease all trade involving military equipment with Russia in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. This would be a forceful next step by both international organizations (of which the United States is a member) to affirm that there is no more business as usual when it comes to bilateral trade of military equipment given Russia’s hostile actions.  

As you are aware, two decades ago the Partnership for Peace program was implemented to foster trust between NATO member countries and the member states of the former Soviet Union, and to acknowledge a shared political commitment to creating lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area. This integration with the member states of the former Soviet Union was predicated on shared values and common obligations to uphold international law. Likewise, the Helsinki Final Act, which has been signed by 57 OSCE nations, including the United States, affirmed our collective commitment to sovereign equality, respect for human rights, and fundamental freedoms. Russia violated these shared principles by disregarding its treaty obligations under the bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.  We should immediately halt the trade in military equipment now that Russia has reneged on its commitment to abide by international law.  

Russia has clearly violated the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, and its actions are antithetical to the principles that NATO member countries like the United States seek to uphold. Nonetheless, significant bilateral trade in military equipment continues. The United Kingdom announced the Military Technical Cooperation Agreement with Russia in January 2014, which would provide a framework for Russian and UK defense companies to cooperate at an unclassified level and enable British and Russian arms producers to exchange defense components and technical data. France has continued an existing contract to sell two high-tech Mistral warships to Russia, and the Hungarian Ministry of Defense recently acquired three Mil Mi-8 transport helicopters produced by Rosoboronexport. Unfortunately and inexplicably, the United States is, at the time of writing, continuing with plans to receive 22 more Mi-17 helicopters from Russia as part of our ongoing assistance to Afghanistan. 

We believe the United States must show leadership by terminating all defense contracts with Russia and ask that you strongly encourage our NATO allies and OSCE participating states to take similar actions. We urge you to lead the coordination among NATO and OSCE to halt trade involving military equipment with Russia immediately. We believe this is a crucial step in reestablishing a deterrent against further Russian aggression and strengthening the impact of our targeted economic sanctions against Russia. We thank you for your attention to this matter. 

Sincerely,
                
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL                                                    
United States Senate

JOHN CORNYN                              
United States Senate

ROGER F. WICKER                                  
United States Senate

BENJAMIN L. CARDIN
United States Senate
                             
DANIEL COATS                              
United States Senate

CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY                              
United States Senate

DAVID VITTER
United States Senate

KELLY AYOTTE 
United States Senate

MICHAEL C. BURGESS
Member of Congress  

LOUISE M. SLAUGHTER
Member of Congress 

JOE PITTS
Member of Congress 

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Dr. Burgess Weekly Video Address: House Budget Resolution
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 11, 2014


This week, Dr. Burgess discusses the FY 2015 budget resolution that passed the House of Representatives. To read a script of his remarks, click here.
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Burgess: 'We Stand in Solidarity with Ukraine'
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 09, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at a U.S. Helsinki Commission hearing titled, “Ukraine: Confronting Internal Challenges and External Threats”:

“Over a couple of short months, some extraordinary events have occurred in Ukraine and the Crimea. On February 21, pro-European Union protesters legally marched in the streets of Kiev to demand reform from their government. The protesters won out and Yanukovych, who was president at that time, stepped down.  

“We all know what happened next.  Russia immediately condemned the new Ukrainian government as illegitimate. Then, under the guise of “freeing” the Russian-speaking citizens of Crimea, Russia invaded and annexed a piece of a sovereign nation.  

“Russian foul play may not end there. Earlier this week, armed protesters swarmed Donetsk, a city 300 miles to the north of Crimea. Ukraine and U.S. officials allege the protesters were organized by Russia. The protesters themselves then called on President Putin to send in troops to help them. If true, Donetsk could be the next domino to fall to illegal Russian aggression. 

“This cannot stand. Doing its part, the United States’ Congress has acted. We passed a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine. Further, Congress passed separate legislation that requires President Obama to ban visas and seize assets from the people responsible for undermining the peace and stability of Ukraine. 

“We can also take steps to help Ukraine in other ways. Yesterday in the Energy and Commerce Committee, we had a markup of The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. It is the purpose of the bill to move forward with exporting the excess amount of Liquefied Natural Gas, also known as LNG, produced in the United States to our friends and allies overseas.  

“This kind of export could be extremely helpful to Ukraine, which could buy the gas from the United States, instead of having to rely on Russia. In fact, Ukraine, along with Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland have all endorsed the legislation saying that it would have this desired effect.    

“The Administration, however, has failed to act. And frankly, I believe that it’s because of the recent actions, or inaction, by the Administration that President Putin has operated with near impunity. Recently, “red lines” and ultimatums followed up with non-action by the Obama Administration have set a dangerous precedent going forward. 

“Four years ago, Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State at the time, said we must hit the reset button on our relationship with President Putin. This sent a terrible message to the rest of the world. It implied that the United States, which has always stood firm for freedom and democracy, is willing to work diplomatically with President Putin. Putin is not to be trusted. He is still fighting the Cold War and is denying basic freedoms to the people of Russia.

“Indeed, the world is looking to America for leadership.  Together with my friends in Congress and on the Helsinki Commission, we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. 

“I thank the Chairman and I look forward to hearing comments by the witness as to the current situation in Ukraine and what we can do to further deter Russian hostility.”


The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is an independent U.S. government agency created in 1976 to monitor and encourage compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE commitments. 

The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine members of the House, including Burgess, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

For more information, click here

 
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Burgess Opening Statement: E&C Subcommittee on Health Hearing "Examining the Implementation of the Tobacco Control Act"
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 08, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), vice-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, today released the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at a hearing titled, “Examining the Implementation of the Tobacco Control Act”:

“I have requested oversight of FDA regulation of tobacco, the agency’s ability to implement the law, and how it is allocating its resources for some time.

“Tobacco results in the deaths of approximately 480,000 Americans every year.  

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates $156 billion in lost wages from premature death.  Economic costs also include $133 billion per year in direct health care costs. 

“For every pack of cigarettes smoked, this nation incurs $18.20 in medical care and lost productivity. About 90% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Nearly 1 of every 5 deaths is related to smoking. Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs - combined. 

“I continue to oppose FDA’s role in anything related to tobacco that doesn’t involve people quitting. The FDA should be the gateway for the American public to access lifesaving and improving products. Tobacco should not be in the same building.

“But as long as it is we deserve an accounting of how $1.1 billion in collected in user fees is being spent as well as the plans for the over $500 million that remain unobligated. To put this number in perspective that is roughly 5 times the amount of user fees collected from medical device manufacturers.

“We do know FDA has faced legal challenges with graphic labels. Stakeholders complain of lack of any regulatory guidance, despite statutory direction.

“Has it improved the health of Americans? Every statistic shows us going in the wrong direction.

“Where is FDA? They could not find time to come here and testify. I find that outrageous and offensive to this Committee. I hope GAO can shine light on their actions." 


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Weekly Video Address: Fort Hood Tragedy
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 04, 2014


 This week, Dr. Burgess shares his thoughts on the tragedy in Fort Hood. To read a script of his remarks, click here.
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VIDEO: Burgess Shares Thoughts on Tragedy at Fort Hood
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 04, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today discussed his thoughts on the tragedy at the Fort Hood military base in a video address to his constituents.

“This news is devastating and shocking by itself, but the fact that it comes less than five years after the shooting at Fort Hood by Maj. Hassan is unspeakable,” Burgess said.

Click here to watch. 

On April 2, 2014, a gunman opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three people and wounding at least 16 others before killing himself.

Burgess attended the memorial of the victims of the Fort Hood shooting in 2009. To view past weekly video addresses, click here.

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Burgess Named Top Conservative by American Conservative Union
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 03, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today was honored as an “American Conservative Union (ACU) Conservative” for his achievements in the 2013 ACU Ratings of Congress, the 43rd edition of the conservatives rating guide, according to ACU Chairman Al Cardenas and ACU Foundation Chairman Carly Fiorina.

The 2013 ACU Ratings of Congress includes scores for each individual member in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. “ACU Conservatives,” are members recognized for scoring 80 percent or higher. Burgess scored 92 percent.

“I am honored to be named a top conservative by the ACU, a group that has been committed to conservative ideals for many years, and an important voice in American politics today,” Burgess said.

“Conservatives have a responsibility to fight the out-of-control growth of government in Congress. We are proud to honor the fine work of Rep. Burgess in that battle,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas.

Throughout the history of the conservative ratings program, ACU has become the go-to source for determining whether an elected official’s philosophical rhetoric matches his or her record. The guides provide a comprehensive analysis of the legislative landscape over the preceding year. This differentiates ACU from other guides that may emphasize single areas, like taxes, defense, or social policy. ACU’s scored votes are not announced in advance, ensuring that its scores provide a more accurate reflection of an elected official’s philosophy of government.  

“The 2013 Ratings show a continued commitment by Rep. Burgess to the conservative principles that will contribute to the revitalization of America,” said ACU Foundation Chairman Carly Fiorina. 

The ACU tracks a wide range of issues before Congress to determine which bills serve as the best barometer for separating those representatives who defend liberty from liberal members who have turned their backs on our founding principles – constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, free markets, a strong national defense and traditional American values. 

The full 2013 ACU Ratings of Congress guide is now available online at www.conservative.org.

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Burgess, Capps Introduce Legislation to Provide Maternity Health Care to Women in Need
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 03, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), a practicing OB/GYN for nearly 30 years, and Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), who worked as a nurse and public health advocate for 20 years, today introduced legislation that would provide access to maternity health care for women in need. 

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) provides loan repayment to the tune of $50,000 for two years of service to physicians and other health professional who agree to work in underserved areas, known as Health Professional Shortage Areas. These areas are often urban and rural locations where there are not enough health care providers to serve the basic needs of the community.

The Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, H.R. 4385, would allow maternity care to be included as a fourth Health Professional Shortage Area, thereby incentivizing physicians, nurse midwives and other maternity care providers to fill the gaps that currently exist in maternity health care for pregnant women in need. 

The program has been proven to work for the three areas already designated by the NHSC as Health Professional Shortage Areas: dental, mental health and primary care. 

“This legislation will be a step in identifying areas of need and addressing these shortcomings in our health care system, so that American women and their families are able to get the care they need,” Burgess said. “Furthermore, as a physician, I understand the long hours and hefty loans that come with being a doctor. This legislation would ease the financial burden for hard-working physicians who have pledged to provide the best care for their patients.”

“I am proud to have co-authored this important, common-sense bill because as a nurse, I know firsthand the critical importance of providing quality health care to women who are pregnant, especially in underserved areas,” Capps said. “This bipartisan bill would go a long way in providing access to this type of care for women and their families, while also ensuring that quality, hardworking medical care professionals caring for these families are adequately incentivized to work in these rural and urban areas that need them.”

The Improving Access to Maternity Care Act is supported by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse-Midwives. 

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Burgess Opening Statement at General Motors Hearing
Posted by Jill Shatzen on April 01, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, today gave the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at the hearing entitled, “The GM Ignition Switch Recall: Why Did It Take So Long?”: 

“We are here today to examine a very important matter, one that touches many Americans; the recent recall of millions of General Motors cars in the United States.  

“The title of this hearing is aptly named: Why did it take so long?  On February 10th of this year, GM finally announced the first recall of its cars because of a faulty ignition switch. But for over a decade, documents obtained by this Committee suggest that the company, through sample testing, was aware that the ignition torque on the switches were below the original specifications set by GM.   

“As for NHTSA, the agency had at least two chances to open up formal investigations into the recalled GM cars.  Both in 2007 and 2010, NHTSA initially examined problems with the vehicles and both times decided that no investigation was needed. This lapse in judgment and analysis is unacceptable. As the nation’s watchdog on highway safety, how can the agency look at the data, see that there is a clear problem and not do anything about it? Not once, but twice. 

“With over 200,000 documents that have been produced, lack of information was not the problem.  Instead, it is this Committee’s duty to figure out why the data was there but the analysis was egregiously off the mark. We need to get to the bottom of this – and fast. The stakes are too high.”


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