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Congress passes Burr's bill labeling Haqqani as terrorist

Congress has passed a bill forcing the State Department to declare the Pakistani Haqqani network a terrorist organization or to provide a detailed explanation of why the label is not fitting.

Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, introduced S.1959 last December – the Senate then approved the bill unanimously; the House followed suit late Tuesday.

Burr is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He called the Haqqani a “violent extremist group” that uses “murder as an intimidation tactic against the Afghan people.”

Burr moves to prevent security leaks

Sen. Richard Burr on Tuesday introduced a bill that would revoke clearance of any individual who discloses information about U.S. covert programs.

“There has been no shortage of news reports lately regarding covert and classified actions,” said Burr, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Such reckless disclosure of top-secret information compromises our national security, jeopardizes the work our intelligence officers and overseas partners, and risks innocent lives.''

Burr to host golf fund raiser in Florida on Monday

Sen. Richard Burr will hold a golfing fund raiser on Monday in Florida for his leadership political action committee.

Burr has scheduled a golf event at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club that will ben benefit. The Next Century Fund, his leadership PAC that he uses to help other candidates. The cost of attending the event ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. That's according to the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks fund raising in Washington.

Burr is also planning another event for his leadership PAC Sept. 21-23 at Primland Resort Meadows in Dan, Virginia, which is a golf, hunting and fishing weekend. That is a $2,000 per person and $3,000 per PAC event.

North Carolinians don't much like either senator

Neither of North Carolina's are very popular, according to a new poll.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr has an approval rating of 33 percent, and a disapproval rating of 39 percent, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling. Twenty-eight percent of the voters had no opinion.

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan's numbers were not much better. Her approval rating was 38 percent and her disapproval rating was 42 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

The survey of 975 voters was taken April 4-7.

Burr in Korea, met today with president

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr was part of a five-member congressional delegation that met today with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul.

Burr and Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss led a delegation that arrived Friday for a three-day visit that will include a visit to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas.

North Korea is planning to go ahead with a launch of a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit, a move that has drawn condemnation from regional powers.

Lee and the congressmen agreed during the meeting that the satellite launch was a “clear violation” of UN resolutions, according to a communique from the Korean government.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr abandons bid for No. 2 GOP post

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr announced Friday he would abandon his bid for the No. 2 Republican post in the Senate.

The Winston-Salem lawmaker said he began in realize in recent weeks that a leadership post wouldn't allow him to purse his policy reforms. "These efforts require serious attention, and they simply cannot be pursued with the focus they demand while also serving as a member of leadership," he said in a statement. "As interested as I am in the Whip position, these legislative and policy efforts are of primary importance to me, and being in leadership wouldn’t provide me the ability and flexibility to commit the time and energy to them that they deserve."

In his campaign for Senate GOP whip, Burr was considered the underdog to Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. If choosen by his colleagues for the position, Burr would have served as the right-hand man for Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. For more background on Burr's bid, read here.

Burr proposes Medicare fixes

Republican Senators Richard Burr and Tom Coburn today unveiled their plan for fixing Medicare, the government-run health care program for seniors, that faces financial challenges in the future.

The plan would offer seniors, starting in 2016, the choice to stick with government-run fee-for-service program, or choose health insurance policies offered by private companies which would bid for the right to participate in the Medicare program.

It also proposes a broad range of other cost-saving measures.

Burr and Hagan in Africa with Bono

North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan are part of congressional delegation visiting Africa, including a meeting with U2 singer and AIDS activist Bono in Ghana.

Burr, a Republican and Hagan, a Democrat, are two of six senators and a congressmen who arrived last Thursday in Africa and are scheduled to be there through Friday, according to The Daily Republic of Arizona.

Besides Burr, the delegation includes Senators John Thune of South Dakota, Lindsey Graham of  South Carolina, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Kay Granger of Texas.

Besides meeting with Bono, the group met with Joshua Bolten, former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, who joined the delegation and Bon in seeing the progress that has been made in fighting AIDS at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, according to ONE, a grassroots advocacy group.

The Senate is in recess until January 23. The trip has been kept under wraps for security reasons.

Burr endorses Romney

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has endorsed Mitt Romney in the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Romney campaign announced Burr's support this morning. The announcement included this statement from Burr:

“Governor Romney's proven leadership and his track record on issues of vital importance such as reducing government spending and creating jobs are exactly what we need to put Americans back to work, reduce our spending and address our national debt, and put our nation on the path to economic prosperity.”

 “The lack of leadership from the current Administration has had a devastating effect on our nation, our economy, and on American families across the country,” Burr continued.

“Governor Romney is a strong leader with a proven track record of addressing the most pressing issues of our time – growing the economy and creating jobs for American workers. I am proud to give him my support, and I am confident he will be our next president.”

Romney is a former Massachusetts governor. He is in a pitched battle for support in next week's Iowa caucuses.

Burr pressures State Department on Pakistan group

Sen. Richard Burr has delayed the confirmation of several of President Barack Obama's nominees for diplomatic posts, until the State Department designates the Pakistan-based Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.

In a move reminiscent of the late Sen. Jesse Helms, Burr has put a hold on a number of  State Department nominees, according to The Cable, of Foreign Policy. com.

Burr put a hold on Mari Carmen Aponte to be U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and Matthew Bryza to be ambassador to Azerbaijan. Also in limbo are Michael A. Hammer to be assistant secretary for public affairs, Adam E. Namm to be ambassador to Ecuador, Roberta S. Jacobson to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs and Elizabeth M. Cousens to be U.S. representative on the UN Economic and Social Council.

Burr is threatening to hold up all State Department confirmations until State acts against the Haqqanis, The Cable reported.

“The Haqqanis are a violent extremist group who have perpetrated deadly attacks on U.S. forces and innocent Afghan civilians, used murder as an intimidation tactics against the Afghan people and employed suicide attacks with deadly effectiveness,” Burr said in a statement.

“They are an extremely dangerous group,” Burr said, “and they deserve to be classified as a terrorist organization. Designating them as terrorists would allow us to more aggressively pursue them as well as limit the ability of foreign governments to provide them with aid and assistance.”

Burr is borrowing a page from Helms, who often held up State Department nomination to pressure State to follow certain policies.

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