Senator Richard Burr
Republican of North Carolina

217 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3154
Fax: 202-228-2981
E-mail
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Progressive Action Score: 0

A score of 0 means that Sen. Burr has acted to support 0% of a slate of progressive policies in the 109th Congress. By our reckoning, Senator Burr has done nothing to merit classification as a progressive. An accounting of Sen. Burr's failings as a leader of reason include the following:
  • On May 26, 2006, Senator Burr failed to vote against the confirmation of General Michael Hayden to his new post as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Because Sen. Burr failed to cast a NO vote, General Hayden proceeded to take the top job at this civilian intelligence agency, handing it over to control by military personnel. Even worse than voting to put a military officer in charge of a civilian spying organization, Senator Burr allowed through a lack of opposition the precedent of Gen. Hayden's anti-American programs to whiz through the Congress without a reprimand. Hayden was in charge of the Bush administration operation of spying for the government into the personal lives of tens of millions of Americans who are innocent of any crime. In failing to show a spine, Senator Burr failed to fulfill the oath every member of the Senate takes to defend the Constitution, and rewarded George W. Bush for breaking the law.

  • On May 18, 2006, Senator Burr failed to vote against Senate Amendment 4064 to S. 2611. Amendment 4064. Because Sen. Burr failed to cast a NO vote, the amendment passed. As a consequence, the Senate declared English to be the National Language of the United States of America, and that "no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English."

    This amendment did not pass because people who already speak English could not access government services. This amendment passed as a way of assigning people value according to the language they speak. This amendment passed as a way of exalting and preserving the status of English speakers. This amendment passed as a way of degrading and keeping down the status of non-English speakers. The effect of this amendment will be to deny government service to Americans whose sole sin is that they speak the wrong language. This amendment is about disdain for difference, something that most of us outgrew by the end of middle school. By failing to vote against this amendment Senator Burr showed a middle-school attitude toward governance, inclusion and citizenship. It is time for Senator Burr to grow up.

  • Sen. Burr has not formally supported S. 14, which would raise the minimum wage from its current 55-year inflation-adjusted low.
  • The Patriot Act is a betrayal of the great American tradition of liberty because it encourages the government to spy on the legal, personal activities of Americans who have not broken the law. The Bush Administration is using that power to grab information out of commercial and public databases and assemble them into a single giant computer database through which the private affairs of every American citizen can be tracked by government officials. Senator Burr tried to break a fillibuster and reauthorize the Patriot Act, empowering the Bush administration to continue to dismantle American liberties and erect a Big Brother edifice in their place.

  • The Patriot Act was created in a time of irrational fear, when an emotionally overwrought senator might be excused for approving a measure that enables the government to access the lives of everyday innocent citizens. But four and a half years later, there is no excuse. Shame on you, Senator Burr. By voting to renew the Patriot Act, you have sacrificed freedom on the altar of your own advancement. You should have known better.

  • Sen. Burr failed to oppose the Graham Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's Amendment inserted the following text into the U.S. Code:
    (
    1) IN GENERAL - Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: "(e) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to consider - (1) an application for a writ of habeas corpus based on policies established by the Secretary of Defense under section 1071(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 filed on behalf of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant, or (2) any other action, challenging any aspect of the detention of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant". (2) EFFECTIVE DATE - The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply to any application or other action pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    The Graham Amendment has three effects:
    1. It removes the power of the courts to hear a writ of habeas corpus from any non-citizen who is held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense. That means that no court will have the power to determine the identities of people being held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense, where they are being held prisoner, and why they are being held prisoner.
    2. It removes the power of the courts to make any ruling on any aspect of any prisonerís detention. This includes torture.
    3. It makes the changes retroactive. That means that even if torture was done two years ago, the amendment takes away the power of the courts to do anything about it.

    What possibly could justify this removal of liberty from the American nation?

    What possibly could justify Senator Burr's failure to oppose this downright unAmerican amendment?
  • By voting for S.256, Senator Burr helped to make it harder for average people who run into hard times to keep even the most basic of assets when they run into already rich megacreditors who want just a bit more profit. Senator Burr has moved to protect the high-profit, high-rate consumer credit industry against people struggling to get by. That's an inversion of any reasonable person's moral compass. Sen. Burr has chosen corporations over people.
  • George W. Bush has put in place a new rule in which industrial plants will be able to purchase the right to spew as much mercury out of their smokestacks as they want. The trouble with this system is that, although mercury pollution could be reduced in some places, hot spots of excessive mercury pollution would appear throughout the country. Local residents would have absolutely no say when mercury pollution threatened their health and the health of their families. The only market-based solution that local residents would have would be to flee their homes, selling their property at drastically reduced rates. That's the kind of market-based solution that belongs in a Charles Dickens novel, not in America.

    S.J. Res 20 would have overturned the Bush Mercury Hotspot Rule, but if failed by a slim majority of 51. Senator Burr didn't vote for S.J. Res 20, allowing Mercury hotspots to proliferate across the United States of America. For shame, Senator Burr.
  • By voting to approve George W. Bush's choice of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, Senator Burr has decided that it's acceptable for the top law enforcement office of the United States to be a man who put his stamp on memos approving the use of torture, and who says the Geneva Conventions don't have to be followed. In this vote, Senator Burr endorsed an anything-goes, deeply amoral vision of America's future.
  • Sen. Burr has not formally supported S. 20, which would expand access to family planning services for low-income families, giving poor families access to contraception, reducing long-term health care costs and cutting the rate of unwanted pregnancies.
  • Sen. Burr has not formally supported S. 317, which would keep government agents from riffling through your bookstore receipts and library records without your permission or knowledge.
  • Sen. Burr has not formally supported S. 266, which would make it a punishable offense for members of a president's staff to use government resources to create fake news releases for purposes of political promotion. Doesn't Senator Burr think fake news created by big government is a bad idea?
  • Sen. Burr failed to vote for an Amendment offered by Senator Carl Levin, which would have established "a national commission on policies and practices on the treatment of detainees since September 11, 2001." We've been waiting years for the establishment of such a commission, which would finally bring about an independent investigation into the secret torture prisons of the Bush Administration. We have been of the opinion that the American people deserve to know whether their government is torturing prisoners and committing other war crimes in the name of the United States of America. Why doesn't Senator Burr share that commitment to shine a light on the nefarious practice of torture?
Contact Senator Burr by E-mail, Phone (at 202-224-3154), or Fax (at 202-228-2981), and ask why these progressive policy priorities have not merited attention or support.

Regressive Conservative Score: 91

A score of 91 means that Senator Burr has acted to support 91% of a slate of conservative, wrongheaded policies in the 109th Congress.
Regressive, destructive, and downright unAmerican actions Senator Burr has taken that contribute to a RCS of :
  • On June 7, 2006, Senator Richard Burr voted to approve an amendment to the United States Constitution which would have specifically made marriages between same-sex partners unconstitutional. It\'s a good thing that others in the Senate showed the necessary resolve, understanding of liberty, moral compass, and general good sense to vote this amendment down, because Sen. Burr failed to do that job himself. Instead, Senator Burr voted with the minority of Americans who believe that civil rights exist only for those people who look like the majority, think like the majority, and act like the majority. If Senator Burr represents you, call him up and ask him why he has no interest in affirming the civil rights of all Americans, even the rights of those Americans who have the gall to be unpopular.
  • On May 26, 2006, Senator Burr voted to confirm General Michael Hayden\'s appointment to his new post as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Because Sen. Burr cast a YES vote, General Hayden proceeded to take the top job at this civilian intelligence agency, handing it over to control by military personnel. Even worse than voting to put a military officer in charge of a civilian spying organization, Senator Burr endorsed the precedent of Gen. Hayden\'s anti-American surveillance programs. Hayden was in charge of the Bush administration operation of spying for the government into the personal lives of tens of millions of Americans who are innocent of any crime. In falling over for the Bush administration\'s whims like a limp noodle in a strong wind, Senator Burr failed to fulfill the oath every member of the Senate takes to defend the Constitution, and rewarded George W. Bush for breaking the law.
  • The Patriot Act is a betrayal of the great American tradition of liberty because it encourages the government to spy on the legal, personal activities of Americans who have not broken the law. The Bush Administration is using that power to grab information out of commercial and public databases and assemble them into a single giant computer database through which the private affairs of every American citizen can be tracked by government officials. Senator Burr tried to break a fillibuster and reauthorize the Patriot Act, empowering the Bush administration to continue to dismantle American liberties and erect a Big Brother edifice in their place.

  • The Patriot Act was created in a time of irrational fear, when an emotionally overwrought senator might be excused for approving a measure that enables the government to access the lives of everyday innocent citizens. But four and a half years later, there is no excuse. Shame on you, Senator Burr. By voting to renew the Patriot Act, you have sacrificed freedom on the altar of your own advancement. You should have known better.

  • On May 18, 2006, Senator Burr voted for Senate Amendment 4064 to S. 2611. Amendment 4064. Because Sen. Burr cast a YES vote, the amendment passed. As a consequence, the Senate declared English to be the National Language of the United States of America, and that "no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English."

    This amendment did not pass because people who already speak English could not access government services. This amendment passed as a way of assigning people value according to the language they speak. This amendment passed as a way of exalting and preserving the status of English speakers. This amendment passed as a way of degrading and keeping down the status of non-English speakers. The effect of this amendment will be to deny government service to Americans whose sole sin is that they speak the wrong language. This amendment is about disdain for difference, something that most of us outgrew by the end of middle school. In voting for this amendment Senator Burr showed a middle-school attitude toward governance, inclusion and citizenship. It is high time that Senator Burr grew up.

  • In a betrayal of the founding principles of American liberty, Sen. Burr voted to pass the Graham Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's Amendment inserted the following text into the U.S. Code:
    (1) IN GENERAL - Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: "..(e) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to consider - ..(1) an application for a writ of habeas corpus based on policies established by the Secretary of Defense under section 1071(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 filed on behalf of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant, or ..(2) any other action, challenging any aspect of the detention of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant". (2) EFFECTIVE DATE - The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply to any application or other action pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    The Graham Amendment has three effects:
    1. It removes the power of the courts to hear a writ of habeas corpus from any non-citizen who is held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense. That means that no court will have the power to determine the identities of people being held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense, where they are being held prisoner, and why they are being held prisoner.
    2. It removes the power of the courts to make any ruling on any aspect of any prisonerís detention. This includes torture.
    3. It makes the changes retroactive. That means that even if torture was done two years ago, the amendment takes away the power of the courts to do anything about it.

    What possibly could justify this removal of liberty from the American nation?

    What possibly could justify Senator Burr's active support of this downright unAmerican amendment?
  • George W. Bush has put in place a new rule in which industrial plants will be able to purchase the right to spew as much mercury out of their smokestacks as they want. The trouble with this system is that, although mercury pollution could be reduced in some places, hot spots of excessive mercury pollution would appear throughout the country. Local residents would have absolutely no say when mercury pollution threatened their health and the health of their families. The only market-based solution that local residents would have would be to flee their homes, selling their property at drastically reduced rates. That's the kind of market-based solution that belongs in a Charles Dickens novel, not in America.

    S.J. Res 20 would have overturned the Bush Mercury Hotspot Rule, but if failed by a slim majority of 51. Senator Burr didn't vote for S.J. Res 20, allowing Mercury hotspots to proliferate across the United States of America. For shame, Senator Burr.

  • You'd think that for a lifetime appointment to the top legal job in the entire nation, there would be higher standards. Apparently not. All it takes to be Chief Justice is to have friends in high places, along with the patience to sit and smile and say next to nothing while being asked important questions about your qualifications for the job.

    This is especially disturbing given the negative record generated about John Roberts before his confirmation hearing. John Roberts wanted Americans to have to carry around a national ID card, rejected equal rights for women, thought it was a good idea to arrest a 12-year-old girl for eating a single french fry on the DC metro, lied about his membership in the ultra-right Federalist Society, favored the use of government resources to promote Judaism and Christianity to the exclusion of other religious persuasions, railed against Roe v. Wade, argued for the gutting of the Americans with Disabilities Act and tried to restrict the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among many other concerns. Does this not paint a picture of a man out of touch with the American mainstream?

    In a display of insider pageantry devoid of substance, John Roberts has been confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and given his age, America will have to suffer under him for quite some time. A few Senators stood firm in the face of the stonewalling silence of John Roberts and demanded actual information about the experience, professional history and position of the man who will arguably possess the greatest cumulative power over American government in the next half century. Senator Burr was not among these courageous actors. Rather, Senator Burr cravenly accepted the bizarre notion that a man with an anti-constitutional record, and who is unwilling to share his point of view regarding the constitution, is worthy of being elevated to the position of Chief Justice. In this rubber-stamping action, Senator Burr has brought American closed-door insiderism to a new low.

  • By voting for S.256, Senator Burr helped to make it harder for average people who run into hard times to keep even the most basic of assets when they run into already rich megacreditors who want just a bit more profit. Senator Burr has moved to protect the high-profit, high-rate consumer credit industry against people struggling to get by. That's an inversion of any reasonable person's moral compass. Sen. Burr has chosen corporations over people.
  • By voting to approve George W. Bush's choice of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, Senator Burr has decided that it's acceptable for the top law enforcement office of the United States to be a man who put his stamp on memos approving the use of torture, and who says the Geneva Conventions don't have to be followed. In this vote, Senator Burr endorsed an anything-goes, deeply amoral vision of America's future.