Michael C. Burgess

For other people named Michael Burgess, see Michael Burgess (disambiguation).
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
Personal details
Born Michael Clifton Burgess
(1950-12-23) December 23, 1950
Rochester, Minnesota
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Laura Burgess
Children 3
Residence Flower Mound, Texas (1980s–2014)
Lewisville, Texas (2014–present)
Alma mater University of North Texas (B.S. and M.S.)
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (M.D.)
University of Texas at Dallas (M.S.)[1]
Occupation Obstetrician
Committees Energy and Commerce
Religion Anglican[2]
Website burgess.house.gov

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-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.

Early life, education, and medical career

Michael Burgess was born on December 23, 1950 in Rochester, Minnesota, the son of Norma (née Crowhurst) and Harry Meredith Burgess; his paternal family immigrated from Nova Scotia.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[5][6] 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.[7]

Since his original election, Burgess has handily won re-election each time:


A man in a dark striped suit, standing, is speaking between two other men while gesturing with his hands. On the left, a man in a blue suit looks puzzled. On the right, another man smiles.
Rep. Burgess speaks to Senators John Kerry and John McCain in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol before the 2011 State of the Union Address

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.[13] Burgess is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge,[14] 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.[15]

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 Congressman Burgess had "become a prominent voice on health care issues" in the U.S. House.[16] Since the 111th United States Congress, he has chaired the Congressional Health Care caucus, of which he is the only official member.[17]

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.[18] However, Burgess' claims that the standards represented a "ban" on conventional lightbulbs were rated as "Mostly False" by the fact checking website PolitiFact.com.[19]

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."[20]

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 the evidence is not yet clear as to whether late-term fetuses are aware of pleasure and pain.[21][22][23][24][25]


On February 8, 2013, Burgess introduced the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research and Education Amendments of 2013 (H.R. 594; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend the Public Health Service Act to revise the muscular dystrophy research program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).[26]

On February 6, 2014, Burgess introduced the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015; 113th Congress).[27] The bill would replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which determines the annual updates to payment rates for physicians’ services in Medicare, with new systems for establishing those payment rates.[28]

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).[29][30]

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 [31]

Committee assignments


See also


  1. "Congressman Michael C. Burgess M.D.". Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  2. Burgess, Michael (2006-07-26). One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain (Speech). Dallas, Texas. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  3. "burgess". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  4. "Rep. Michael Burgess (R–Texas)". Congressional Quarterly. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  5. 1 2 Michalski, Dan (2002-11-01). "The Rise and Fall of Scott Armey". D Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  6. "Michael Burgess Campaign Finance". Open Secrets. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  7. "Our Campaigns - TX District 26 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  8. "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  9. "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  10. "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 04, 2008". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  11. "Our Campaigns - TX - District 26 Race - Nov 02, 2010". Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  12. "Election results". Huffington Post.
  13. "2011 Congressional Votes by Delegation". American Conservative Union. 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  14. "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 112th Congressional List" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  15. "U.S. House: Taxpayer Protection Pledge" (PDF). Americans for Tax Reform. 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  16. 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.
  17. "Congressional Health Care Caucus – About". 2009. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  18. French, Lauren (2011-07-15). "Michael Burgess' Light Bulb Amendment Passes House". Houston Chronicle. Texas on the Potomac. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  19. 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.
  20. Batheja, Aman (2011-08-09). "Burgess meets with unhappy Tea Party group". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  21. 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.
  22. Stan, Adele M. (June 17, 2013). "Texas Congressman: Masturbating Fetuses Prove Need for Abortion Ban". RH Reality Check. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  23. Abad-Santos, Alexander (June 18, 2013). Yahoo News "GOP Congressman Wants to Ban Abortion to Save Masturbating Fetuses" Check |url= value (help). The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  24. Merlan, Anna (June 18, 2013). Yahoo News "Texas Congressman: Masturbating Fetuses Are Proof That Fetal Pain Is Real" Check |url= value (help). The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  25. Kettler, Brooke (June 18, 2013). "Rep. Michael Burgess Says 15-Week-Old Male Fetuses Pleasure Themselves". ABC News. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  26. "H.R. 594 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  27. "H.R. 4015 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  28. "H.R. 4015 – CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  29. "CBO – H.R. 4080". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  30. "H.R. 4080 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  31. Marcos, Christina "House adopts proposal to halt incandescent light bulb standards", The Hill, May 01, 2015, Retrieved May 3, 2015
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dick Armey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 26th congressional district

Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Marsha Blackburn
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
John Carter
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