Monday, May 17, 2010
NV-03: Dina Titus House Party in Henderson
On Saturday, I had the chance to see my favorite Congresswoman in action at a house party up in Anthem. Dina Titus was answering questions about health care, the Recovery Act, the economy, cooperation (or lack thereof) between the state and the feds, and a little question on immigration reform that I got in. ;-)
For a "small house party" in Sun City Anthem, you can see from my photos that we got a good crowd. As soon as Dina made it from another house party in Henderson, we got started.
On health care, Dina reassured the crowd (many were seniors, as we were right in the heart of Sun City Anthem) that the health care reform legislation passed this year would NOT HURT MEDICARE BENEFITS, but would actually strengthen the Medicare system by redirecting funds from pure insurance company profits into improving the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit and offering free preventive care.
Dina was also asked about Social Security. Someone was concerned about the recent Republican talking points being released on Social Security "going bankrupt" in six years. Dina responded by calling that talking point out as a lie and pointing out how the longer-term solvency issues of Social Security can easily be solved, starting with Congress stopping the raids into the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for things like corporate tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (what Bush and the Republican Congress did last decade).
There were quite a few questions about the Recovery Act (stimulus) and whether Nevada is getting the money. Dina explained how we are now (FINALLY!!!) getting Recovery Act funds for schools, transportation, and more... No thanks to "Luv Giv" Gibbons. He was the source of most of the delays, as he didn't want to post signs showing these projects were paid for by the Recovery Act and he didn't want to bother with the accountability measures needed for Nevada to receive the funds. Dina Titus then said Congress is trying to get the next round of education funds directly to the schools, so that next time we won't have to worry again about idiots like Gibbons trying to block us from receiving federal funds.
I then asked a question about immigration reform and whether Congress will soon pass comprehensive reform including the Uniting American Families Act. I explained how it was unfair for LGBTQ families trying to do everything legally to still be denied entry because of who they are. As of now, LGBTQ Americans can't sponsor their spouses for legal entry into the country. Dina sympathized with what I said, but I could tell she didn't want to deal with the "hot potato" immigration issue. She talked about the the over 200 bills passed by the House that are still stalled in the Senate, and how House members do not want to see any more legislation passed by them just to hit roadblocks in the Senate. Clearly, she was repeating what Nancy Pelosi has said before, which is that they want to see action in the Senate first on immigration and other "hot button issues" before they drop anything not "directly related to economic recovery" to take them on.
I was a bit frustrated, but I could also understand. For better or for worse, immigration is now Harry Reid's issue and he'll have to get something passed in the Senate first before Pelosi will allow Dina Titus and Shelley Berkley and everyone else in the House to work on immigration issues.
Before Dina had to leave for Lake Mead (to give an award for biggest fish caught, don't ask), she took one more question on foreign affairs and specifically the Israeli-Palestinean conflict. The hostess herself asked, as she was concerned about Israel. Dina Titus responded by saying she shared those concerns about Israel and stated her thoughts on Israel's right to exist.
OK, I must admit this was another frustrating moment for me. The vast majority of Palestineans aren't denying Israel's right to exist... They're just asking for their right to exist on their land. Now Dina Titus did say that "the peace process has to be a two-way street", but this should mean that both sides are willing to actually talk and stop the land incursions and illegal settlements along with the terrorist attacks. Israel can't be expected not to defend itself, but neither can Palestine. There really has to be a two-state solution that all sides can agree to and live with.
OK, enough of my foreign policy preaching. Yes, I sometimes have my issues with Dina. But all in all, it was good to see her here in Henderson reaching out to us in the neighborhood. And hey, she does get quite a bit done for the community. That's why I'd rather keep her in Congress serving our district. Hey, at least she listens to me. ;-)