Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Heller's Uncompassionate Conservativism

cross posted at Desert Beacon

Nevada Representative Dean Heller (R-NV2) is a fine little Bush soldier, and his voting record proves it.

Rep. Heller voted to kill (recommit) H.R. 3567 the “Small Business Investment Expansion Act” on roll call 922, and then on roll call 923 joined 71 others to vote against the measure, on September 27, 2007. The bill, if enacted by the Senate and signed by the President, would increase small business investment company limits for companies owned by women and minorities; provide increased capital investment requirements with respect to small manufacturing companies; provide for a study of the availability of equity capital in low income urban and rural areas; and provide a streamlined application process for new market venture capital.

Why Rep. Heller would oppose a bill designed to promote entrepreneurship, and at least study the availability of equity capital in rural areas is indeed puzzling since he is supposed to be representing a mostly rural district, and sounds like he supports small business expansion and development. The bill has now been sent to the Senate subcommittee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

During roll call 920 he voted to kill (recommit) H.R. 3121, the “Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007.” He joined 145 others in opposing this bill, which passed 263-146. This bill was passed to restore the financial solvency of the national flood insurance program, and to make available “multi-peril” coverage for damage resulting from windstorms and floods. It amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 as follows: “(1) provide phase-in actuarial rates for nonresidential properties and non-primary residences; (2) provide multiperil coverage for flood and windstorm; (3) prohibit duplicative coverage; (4) revise maximum coverage limits; and (5) provide coverage for additional living expenses, basement improvements, business interruption, and replacement cost of contents.” [LOC] Considering the damages racked up in Florida, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast, it’s hard to imagine why Rep. Heller would oppose “multi-peril” coverage, but he did.

Actually, Rep. Heller didn’t want to vote on anything on September 27th, or at least it seems that way, because he voted to adjourn the House without taking up any business on roll call 914.

The day before, September 26th, he voted against the “Popcorn Workers Lung Disease Prevention Act” H.R. 2693 on roll call 913. The bill passed 260-154. This vote disengages “compassionate” from conservative in an instant. The bill “…Directs the Secretary of Labor to promulgate an interim final standard regulating worker exposure to diacetyl that applies to all: (1) locations in the flavoring manufacturing industry that manufacture, use, handle, or process diacetyl; and (2) microwave popcorn production and packaging establishments that use diacetyl-containing flavors in the manufacture of microwave popcorn.” [LOC] Evidently, the Bush Administration can’t make up its mind if diacetyl is dangerous, because OSHA has yet to determine standards for handling it. However, this “regulatory paralysis” is causing an increasing number of cases of “fixed obstructive lung disease, or bronchiolitis obliterans. [WaPo] Apparently, Rep. Heller is not concerned.

Further establishing his “un-compassionate conservative” credentials, on September 25th he voted against the “Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act” H.R. 976 on roll call 906.

But, Representative Heller soldiers on, joining the reactionary Republican ranks, evidently happy to announce his concern for the financial and physical well being of his constituents (and their cohorts across the country) while voting against just that.

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