Michael C. Burgess
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Texas's 26th district
January 3, 2003
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."
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.
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:
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.
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."
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.
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."
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)