Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dean Heller's Vote Could Overturn Bush's Veto

Oftentimes, a vote is just a vote. One of many, sure. There is often much at stake but it's unlikely that the vote of a freshman backbencher makes much of a difference. That's why hardly anyone beyond Nevada has ever heard of Dean Heller.

That was until SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, came up for reauthorization. Democrats seized upon the opportunity to expand coverage to more children who need it. Which is a sensible thing to do. So sensible, indeed, that it received a veto proof majority in the U.S. Senate, with 18 Republican Senators voting for the expansion of SCHIP. In the House 45 Republicans voted for SCHIP, including Jon Porter.

Overall, 265 members of the House voted for SCHIP, with 290 needed to overturn a veto. If all 12 Democrats either voting no, present, or who were not present would vote in favor, another 13 votes would be needed.

What are the chances of Heller being one of the 13? Hard to tell. There's definitely no chance if he's not pressured.

So, this is where you come in. You can contact Dean Heller directly by calling one of his offices:

Washington, DC: 202-225-6155 (Office)
Reno: 775-686-5760 (Office)
Elko: 775-777-7920 (Office)
Las Vegas: 702-255-1651 (Office)

Another thing you should do is write a letter to the editor to one or more of the following newspapers:

The Desert Valley Times (Mesquite)
Elko Daily Free Press
The Ely Times
Lahontan Valley News (Fallon)
Las Vegas Review Journal
Las Vegas Sun
Nevada Appeal (Carson City)
Pahrump Valley Times
The Record Courie (Gardnerville)
Reno Gazette Journal
The Sparks Tribune
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

Write those letters as quickly as you can. You can usually do so by submitting them online, either through an online form or an email. Bush is expected to veto early next week. So, the sooner you write the better.

Will Heller really let it come that far that it is his vote that would leave millions of children uninsured? Especially, considering how bad the situation in Nevada is:

According to the professionals, Nevada has one of the worst insurance rates in the country and this legislation is critical to ensuring the healthcare of children uninsured in Nevada.

If President Bush vetoes the bill, it might not just be these children who lose out.

They say the healthcare of the estimated 30,000 children enrolled in the Nevada Checkup program would also be jeopardized.

Martin Gallacher, a registered nurse, says "if it doesn't pass, it will affect the neediest of us in the state of Nevada. Again, parents who are forced to choose the emergency room as a primary source of care".

Act now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heller votes against SCHIP

There was one, and only one, member of the Nevada congressional delegation to vote against the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 976) today in the U.S. House of Representatives: Representative Dean Heller (R-NV2). [roll call 906] Representatives Berkley (D-NV1) and Porter (R-NV3) voted in favor of the bill.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dean Heller in Pahrump, NV

Photo: by Mark Waite, Pahrump Valley Times. Congressman Dean Heller, left, talks to Nye County Commission Chairman Gary Hollis at the fundraising dinner for the Nye County Republican Party Central Committee at the Pahrump Nugget Saturday night. Bob Swadell, a Pahrump lobbyist, can be seen walking by in the background.

U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., concedes he hasn't acquired much clout since taking office as the representative for Nevada's 2nd District in January. [Mark Waite, Pahrump Valley Times]

Even at the fundraising dinner for the Nye County Republican Party Central Committee at the Pahrump Nugget Events Center Saturday night, Heller arrived late and sat in the audience while his predecessor, Jim Gibbons, now governor of Nevada, was front and center as the keynote speaker.

"They're pushing me around because I'm a freshman in the minority (party), but I'll keep pushing back," Heller said of his fellow congressmen.

Heller hasn't been totally a stealth candidate in the media in the eight months since his inauguration. He has emerged as a staunch supporter of the president's Iraq policy, but the freshman lawmaker has also sponsored a few bills.

Heller said he introduced two bills that concern Northern Nevada. One would allow the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to deed property to Reno for economic development. Another involves a settlement with an Indian tribe in northern Humboldt and Elko counties.

But the bill on which Heller said he's been working the hardest involves Southern Nevada.

It deals with the Colorado River endangered species program. The bill would set up a 50-year program allocating 7,500 acre feet of water per year to protect 24 different species along the river, Heller said.

"The key is it is a 50-year program that would allocate water to Arizona, Nevada and California so that Las Vegas knows how much water they're going to have over the next 50 years," Heller said. "If you have stability in Clark County, there will be less need for water out of the eastern part of the state."

The former Nevada secretary of state also inserted amendments into a bill introduced to regulate voting machines. Heller said Nevada was the only state that established a paper trail on its electronic voting machines, avoiding the lawsuits filed against other states. But those steps could be erased by this new law, he said.

"It would make it nearly impossible to have early voting based on the way they want to do it," Heller said. The bill would audit electronic voting results by precinct instead of by the machine itself, he said. Currently people vote at precinct locations only on election day.

One of his amendments would exempt Nevada from the requirements of the bill, the other would mandate that instructions on the electronic voting machines be printed in English only, Heller said.

President Bush's speech on Iraq last week has aroused controversy, calling for a much slower withdrawal of troops than many Democrats would like. Heller continues to support Gen. David Petraeus' view of what the commander believes is needed to fight the war in Iraq. But Heller conceded the reality of Washington politics has colored the debate.

"Unfortunately, what I have found out in eight months in Congress, it's all a game of oneupmanship, and unfortunately this war in Iraq is part of that game ... Just about a month ago, (Republican Virginia Sen. John) Warner said we have to pull 1,000 troops out by the end of the year to send a message to the Iraqi people that it's time to get out. Democrats were praising that.

"Now the president gives a speech and says we want 30,000 out, and that's not good enough. A month ago 1,000 is great, but now 30,000 is not enough."

Heller added, "That's unfortunate because both sides need to come together. Now I'm thrilled we're going to have troops home. Would I love to have more? Absolutely I'd love to have more. But right now Petraeus believes this is the number he wants."

However, Heller said optimistically, Petraeus' speech to Congress and President Bush's speech to the nation following that "is the beginning of the end game" on Iraq.

Now that you've read all that, read all this about Heller:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Some Days Heller Should Just Stay in Bed

Congressman Dean Heller had an embarrassing week last week. He was on a tour of the state, was in a hurry, and asked for a lunch "to go" at a local restaurant. As he was paying for the lunch, he was hungry and started picking at the plate ... only to discover the food belonged to the people behind him. They just laughed and took it anyway. And it didn't stop there. He then went to Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center with his daughter, Emmy, to see his niece, Maggie. He and Emmy went into the room and were peering down into her face, only to have the patient ask, "Who are you?" Turns out they were in the wrong room. Maggie was in the next one, and, as they left, the lady said, "Isn't that Dean Heller?" He was extremely tempted to say, "No, I don't think so." So much for the life of a congressman. [Nevada Appeal]

Makes one wonder if he can find his office in Washington.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

AWOL Heller Talks to the Media - About Larry Craig

Congressman Dean Heller, chiefly known for his disinterest in giving the media any statements on importants issues or events, was his usual hypocritically moralistic Republican self when asked to comment on Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID):

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said, "Individuals who are elected to a public office should hold themselves to a higher standard. Any United States senator found guilty of public lewdness should step down."

Heller thus far hasn't uttered a word about Craig's collegue Sen. Vitter (R-LA) who used the service of prostitutes. As I said, hypocritically moralistic. And, no, we don't expect Heller to pick up the phone when a reporter calls about, say health care, infrastructure problems, or the Iraq occupation. Those things are way too trivial for him.

Cross posted at My Silver State.