Michael C. Burgess
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 26th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||Dick Armey|
Michael Clifton Burgess
December 23, 1950
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
|Education||University of North Texas (BS, MS)|
University of Texas at Houston (MD)
University of Texas at Dallas (MS)
Michael Clifton Burgess (born December 23, 1950) is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives representing Texas's 26th congressional district. In 2002, he defeated Scott Armey, the son of House Majority Leader and then-U.S. Representative Dick Armey, in a primary runoff election. Prior to his election, he practiced as a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology.
Burgess is a member of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, and he has been involved in the debates over health care reform and energy policy. He opposes abortion, is unsure of the extent of the contribution of human activity to global warming, supports President Donald Trump's restrictions on travel from Muslim-majority countries and refugee immigration, and supports the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Burgess is a strong supporter of President Trump's border policies. In June 2019 he argued, in response to media reports of around 250 migrant children being kept in unsanitary and inhumane conditions by US officials in a warehouse by the US-Mexico border, that the children were not actually being detained against their will: "You know what? There's not a lock on the door. Any child is free to leave at anytime, but they don't. You know why? Because they are well taken care of."
Early life, education, and medical career
Michael Burgess was born in Rochester, Minnesota, the son of Norma (née Crowhurst) and Harry Meredith Burgess; his paternal family immigrated from Nova Scotia, a province of Canada. He graduated from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in 1972 and graduated from the medical school at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 1977. He completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Burgess is an Anglican.
U.S. House of Representatives
Burgess, who had never held any public office and voted in the Democratic primaries in 1990, 1992, and 1994, entered in the 2002 Republican primary election to replace U.S. Congressman and House Majority Leader Dick Armey. His primary opponent was Armey's son, Scott. The district, comprising the majority of Denton County, was strongly Republican, and political pundits had predicted that whoever won the primary would not only win the general election, but be assured of at least a decade in Congress. Using the campaign slogan "My dad is NOT Dick Armey", Burgess touted the support of medical Political Action Committees and organizations like the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Burgess took second place in the primary behind Armey, finishing with 23% of the vote to Armey's 45%. Since neither candidate earned the required majority of votes, the election led to a primary runoff election. Before the runoff, The Dallas Morning News released a series of articles alleging that Armey used his influence as a judge to procure county jobs and contracts for his friends. The report hurt Armey's campaign, and Burgess won the runoff with 55% of the vote. He won the general election with 75% of the vote.
Burgess has won re-election seven times:
- 66% in 2004
- 60% in 2006
- 60% in 2008
- 67% in 2010
- 68% in 2012
- nearly 84% in 2014 (for the first time, Burgess did not draw a Democratic challenger, and ran against nominal Libertarian opposition)
Burgess won his eighth term in the U.S. House in the general election held on November 8, 2016. With 211,730 (66.4 percent) votes, he defeated the Democrat Eric Mauck and the Libertarian Mark Boler, who polled 94,507 (29.6 percent) and 12,843 (4 percent), respectively.
Burgess secured his ninth term in the general election held on November 6, 2018. With 185,268 votes (59.4 percent), he defeated his Democratic opponent, Linsey Fagan, who polled 121,584 votes (39 percent). Another 5,008 votes (1.6 percent) went to the Libertarian choice, Mark Boler, who also ran in 2016.
A member of the Republican Party and Tea Party caucus, Burgess is considered to be a conservative member of the House of Representatives. Through 2011, he had a lifetime rating of 93.59 percent from the American Conservative Union. Burgess is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge, wherein the signer pledges to:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
Impeachment of Obama
On August 9, 2011, Burgess met with a Tea Party group in Keller, Texas to discuss his vote to raise the debt ceiling. When a constituent asked if the House of Representatives was considering impeaching President Barack Obama, Burgess responded, "It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up ... No question about that."
Comments on fetal pain and pleasure
While speaking in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act at a House Rules Committee meeting on June 17, 2013, Burgess reasoned that abortions should be illegal after 15 weeks because he had seen fetuses commit intelligent behaviors involving both pleasure and pain, commenting that he had seen male fetuses place their "hands between their legs":
You watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they are a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. I mean, they feel pleasure. Why is it so hard to think they feel pain?
Although he never used the phrase specifically, Burgess' comments were widely regarded as referring to fetal masturbation, and they attracted national attention and controversy. According to other doctors, his statements were "not based on science" at the moment, since there is not clear evidence to conclude they perceive pleasure or pain prior to the third trimester.
Immigration and refugees
Burgess supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, stating that Trump was "well within his authority" to issue the order and that "Congress should remain involved in the process and provide legislation to strengthen not only border security but vetting those who wish to enter the country through any means."
Burgess is one of nine medical doctors in Congress, and one of seven in the House of Representatives. In May 2009, Congressional Quarterly noted that Burgess had "become a prominent voice on health care issues" in the U.S. House. Since the 111th United States Congress, he has chaired the Congressional Health Care caucus, of which he is the only official member.
Burgess supports the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare. At the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, Burgess said he favored covering fewer Americans with health insurance. Burgess said, "If the numbers drop, I would say that's a good thing, because we've restored personal liberty in this country."
Energy and the environment
As a member of the United States House Energy Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Burgess has been active in the debate over energy policy. In 2011, he submitted an amendment to the 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act to defund part of the act that established higher efficiency standards for household light bulbs. However, Burgess' claims that the standards represented a "ban" on conventional lightbulbs were rated as "Mostly False" by the fact checking website PolitiFact.com. On April 30, 2015, Burgess once again introduced an amendment to the $35.4 billion fiscal 2016 energy and water spending bill which would defund the Department of Energy enforcement of incandescent light bulb efficiency standards, a measure which passed 232-189, largely on a party line vote 
Burgess is skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change. On March 8, 2011 in a hearing before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, Burgess said "My opinion, for what it is worth, is that the science behind global temperature changes is not settled."
On February 25, 2014, Burgess introduced the Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4080; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize funding for public and private entities that provide trauma and emergency care services and for the administration of the Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS).
This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Committee on Rules
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Burgess, Michael (2011). Doctor in the House: A Physician-Turned-Congressman Offers His Prescription for Scrapping Obamacare – and Saving America's Medical System. Midpoint Trade Books. ISBN 978-1-936488-25-4. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
- "GOP Rep. on conditions in camp: 'Any child is free to leave at anytime'". MSNBC.com. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
- Board, The Editorial (2019-06-24). "Opinion | There's No Excuse for Mistreating Children at the Border. Here's What To Do About It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
- "burgess". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "Congressman Michael C. Burgess M.D." Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- "Rep. Michael Burgess (R–Texas)". Congressional Quarterly. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Burgess, Michael (2006-07-26). One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain (Speech). Dallas, Texas. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- Michalski, Dan (2002-11-01). "The Rise and Fall of Scott Armey". D Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Michael Burgess Campaign Finance". Open Secrets. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Our Campaigns - TX District 26 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 04, 2008". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 02, 2010". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "Election results". Huffington Post.
- "Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- "Election Returns". Texas Secretary of State. November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
- "2011 Congressional Votes by Delegation". American Conservative Union. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "U.S. House: Taxpayer Protection Pledge" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Batheja, Aman (2011-08-09). "Burgess meets with unhappy Tea Party group". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- Peters, Jeremy W. (June 18, 2013). "In Partisan Vote, House Approves Ban on Abortions After 22 Weeks". The New York Times.
- "House Vote 251 - Approves New Abortion Restrictions". ProPublica. June 18, 2013.
- Flock, Elizabeth (June 18, 2013). "Comments by Rep. Michael Burgess About Fetuses Masturbating Not Based in Science, Doctors Say". US News & World Report. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Stan, Adele M. (June 17, 2013). "Texas Congressman: Masturbating Fetuses Prove Need for Abortion Ban". RH Reality Check. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Abad-Santos, Alexander (June 18, 2013). "GOP Congressman Wants to Ban Abortion to Save Masturbating Fetuses". The Atlantic Wire. Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
- Merlan, Anna (June 18, 2013). "Texas Congressman: Masturbating Fetuses Are Proof That Fetal Pain Is Real". Unfair Park: The Dallas Observer Blog. Archived from the original on July 24, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Kettler, Brooke (June 18, 2013). "Rep. Michael Burgess Says 15-Week-Old Male Fetuses Pleasure Themselves". ABC News. Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Crisis at the Border, Office of U.S. Representative Michael C. Burgess (last accessed April 7, 2017).
- House Vote 625 - Approves DREAM Act, Pro Publica Represent Project.
- Blake, Aaron (January 31, 2017). "Whip Count: Here's where Republicans stand on Trump's controversial travel ban". Washington Post.
- Armstrong, Drew (2009-05-06). "Luntz Shapes GOP Messages on Health Care". Congressional Quarterly. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-08-21. Cite journal requires
- "Congressional Health Care Caucus – About". 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Tracer, Zachary; House, Billy; Edney, Anna (February 24, 2017). "GOP Obamacare plan would cover fewer people". The Boston Globe. Bloomberg News. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- Tracy, Abigail (February 24, 2017). "A Leaked Blueprint for Trumpcare Reveals Millions Could Lose Coverage". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- French, Lauren (2011-07-15). "Michael Burgess' Light Bulb Amendment Passes House". Houston Chronicle. Texas on the Potomac. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- Selby, Gardner (2011-06-15). Seaborn, Jody (ed.). "Michael Burgess Says Stores Will be Barred from Selling 100-watt Bulbs in 2012". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- Marcos, Christina "House adopts proposal to halt incandescent light bulb standards", The Hill, May 01, 2015, Retrieved May 3, 2015
- "Climate Science and EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulation". United States Government Publishing Office. March 8, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- Brown, Bruce (June 22, 2014). "Global Warming: How much does a Republican charge to make himself look stupid in public?". Daily Kos. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- Germain, Tiffany (June 26, 2013). "The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus". ThinkProgress. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- "CBO – H.R. 4080". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "H.R. 4080 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "U.S. Congressman Michael C. Burgess : 26th District Of Texas". burgess.house.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
- "Members". Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
- Congressman Michael C. Burgess official U.S. House site
- Michael Burgess for Congress
- Michael Burgess at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Preceded by |
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Texas's 26th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|Preceded by |
| United States Representatives by seniority |