Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NV-Sen: Heller's Choice

So it's now official. Whoop-tee-doodle. Who didn't know?

But now... Oh yes, but now the fun really begins!

[Harry] Reid had only innocuous words of welcome for [Dean] Heller at the news of his appointment.

"I welcome Dean to the Senate,” Reid said in a statement. “As his responsibilities shift to representing all Nevadans, rather than a single district of our state, I am confident he will work with me and members of both parties to address the serious challenges facing Nevada and the nation."

But only a few minutes before Sandoval announced his decision to appoint Heller, Reid announced he planned to bring up a vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal 2012 budget in the Senate -- a bill he and most Democrats despise, and have openly derided as a secret plan to kill Medicare.

The move is pure politics, aimed at putting Republican senators -- now including Heller -- on record as often as possible backing initiatives such as altering social spending programs, that presumptive Democratic nominee Shelley Berkley has said she “absolutely” intends to make the focus of her campaign.

Of course, how well those political tactics work depend on how the electorate reads those votes.

Heller hasn’t apologized or shied from his votes in favor of Ryan’s proposal, which he says are necessary to save the program -- and believes the voting population of Nevada will agree.

Over 327,000 Nevadans, or about 13% of our entire state's population, are enrolled in Medicare. And under the new Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, Medicare recipients are eligible for new prescription drug coverage and discounts.

Oh, and there's even more coming for seniors on Medicare...

UNLESS the Ryan Budget passes! As we've talked about before, the Republican budget proposal spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Douchebag) would completely destroy Medicare and Medicaid if enacted. This would completely devastate Nevada if enacted, especially since so many Nevadans depend on Medicare and Medicaid for health care and survival! However, don't tell that to Dean Heller. He voted for the Ryan plan in The House...

Hmmm, I wonder what Heller will now do in The Senate...

Also considering how certain tea-tinged Republicans want to build on the devastating cuts to green collar jobs programs passed earlier this year. Nevada needs green jobs more than ever before to diversify our economy while also shifting to living in the desert more sustainably. Green jobs are a huge deal here in Nevada, but Dean Heller hasn't really cared about that. In The House this year, he voted against green jobs development... Even as he later voted to continue bailouts for oil companies!

On February 19th, Congressman Heller voted to eliminate funding in the renewable energy loan guarantee program by supporting H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. The program, also known as Section 1705 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, helps large clean energy projects move forward by providing government-backed loans vetted by Department of Energy experts. These loans are the catalyst for private investment in promising technologies and job creation.

Then, on March 1st, Congressman Heller voted against a “motion to recommit” by Representative Bill Keating (D-MA) to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies. Eliminating those giveaways would have brought in $53 billion in deficit relief and allowed full funding for Nevada-based businesses through the loan guarantee program. Congressman Heller chose tax breaks for the richest of corporations instead of helping to develop Nevada’s growing clean energy economy.

Several projects in Nevada, including the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes solar project outside of Tonopah, are moving through the process of securing the renewable energy loan guarantees. The Crescent Dunes solar array would create 600 on-site jobs, and provide energy for 75,000 homes in the state. Six other projects are also moving through the process and would provide thousands of jobs for Nevadans.

“Jobs are being created and the Clean Energy Economy is moving forward thanks in part to the federal renewable energy loan guarantee program. The question for Dean Heller is whether he wants these jobs here in Nevada or if he’d like to outsource them to China,” said Lydia Ball, Executive Director for the Clean Energy Project. “So far he’s casting his votes for out-of-state oil and gas companies and against thousands of clean energy jobs for Nevada.”

So now that Dean Heller is officially moving to The Senate, will he continue his obstinance on green collar jobs and sensible climate solutions? Or will he suddenly "see the light" and do what's right for Nevada?

On these and other issues, Heller will have some tough choices. He can no longer hide behind John Boehner's spray tan salon. Heller now represents the entire state, so he now has to choose whether to actually do his new job or continue pandering to teabagger extremists.

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