Thursday, February 28, 2008

Heller votes against tax credits for renewable energy in Nevada

Congressman Dean Heller, (R-NV 2d District) voted against a House bill to extend tax credits for renewable energy industries. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

"The bill, which passed 236-182, would give $8 billion in tax breaks through 2011 to companies that produce new electricity from natural sources like wind, geothermal, biomass and hydropower. A 30 percent credit for investments in solar products and fuel cell technology would be in place through 2016."

Sounds like a good move to me, considering record oil company profits and Governor Jim Gibbons' anxiety to build new coal power plants in Nevada. Nye County appears to me to be a ready-made locale for producing electricity from wind, geothermal, and solar sources.

the Review Journal reports, "Despite the House action, the bill faces long odds. Earlier bills were killed in the Senate by Republicans, who opposed giving tax breaks for renewables because their cost to the Treasury would be offset by taking away some tax breaks now enjoyed by oil and gas companies."

I don't know about you but I'm not at all offended by "taking away some tax breaks now enjoyed by oil and gas companies."

"The vote fell along party lines. While [Shelley] Berkley voted for the bill, Nevada Republican Reps. Dean Heller and Jon Porter voted against it as did all but 17 Republicans."

I suppose I just can't understand Republicans. I do understand their obsession with corporate profits, but why punish residents of the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Nye County?

Jill Derby going negative against Dean Heller?

Douglas Hill of Fallon wrote a letter to the Lahontan Valley News published today. He opens his letter with "Does Jill Derby have to open her campaign with an attack on Dean Heller? According to her, Heller just follows the Republican line." [Lahontan Valley News]

"Yet at the Republican Lincoln Day Dinner, Heller stated, 'We (Republicans) truly need to change,' adding that the Republicans mishandled the war, had undisciplined spending habits and corruption. Sounds like Heller is pretty independent to me!"

Having read Mr. Hill's letter I turned to the Derby website to see what she said in her announcement she was going to run against Heller again. [Jill Derby for Congress] Here is what she wrote:

"* Rather than be independent, he (Heller) put the profits of drug companies ahead of making prescription drugs affordable for Nevada's seniors.

"* Rather than push for new solutions to the quagmire in Iraq, he has been in lockstep with the Bush Administration.

"* Rather than be independent and put Nevada first, he has put Big Oil first, giving corporate welfare to Oil companies making record profits, while Nevadans struggle with record prices at the pump.

"* Rather than be independent and put Nevada's children first, he chose tax breaks for the wealthy and voted against check ups for kids.

"* Rather than be independent, he has voted over 90% of the time towing the line of the Bush administration and his Party."

I fail to see those remarks as being attacks, as Mr. Hill appears to think. I see Derby's remarks as pointing out deficiencies in Mr. Heller's representation of Nevada's 2nd Congressional District. They are fair criticisms which Derby should be highlighting.

Mr. Hill's letter pointed out that "Heller states he voted against the expansion of the SCHIP because "If H.R. 3162 just focused on improving children's health care, my vote probably would have been different. Yet 75 percent of this bill cut Medicare and raised taxes on the middle class ... Medicare cuts affect 30 percent of seniors in Nevada ... This legislation includes ... mandating new taxation on private health plan." This bill would have eliminated the current proof of citizenship requirement."

But read what health care professionals were saying back when SCHIP was moving through Congress (September 2007) before Bush vetoed it.

"A group of healthcare professionals gathered today to voice their support for the SCHIP bill.

"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".

"The group says the veto of the bill will force thousands of families to continue to choose between basic needs, including food and healthcare." [KTNV Channel 13, Las Vegas]

How does Heller square his rejection of SCHIP with the children of families in the 2nd Congressional District? Even Jon Porter voted for SCHIP.

Of course George Bush vetoed SCHIP, twice I recall. Heller backed Bush's vetoes. And keep in mind that Bush flew into Heller's District in 2006 to help him raise campaign funds.

No, one of the primary problems Heller has in getting re-elected is the fact he joined himself to George Bush's hip. George Bush has been a disaster as President of the United States. I admire Heller's loyalty to Bush but I fail to see that loyalty as a benefit to the residents of Congressional District 2.