As youth unemployment remains high, 400,000 Millennials say “We Like Small Government,” not more government
Washington, DC – (8/15/12) – Generation Opportunity, one of the largest groups in America engaging and mobilizing young adults, or Millennials, on the important economic issues facing the nation in 2012 and beyond, unveiled its newest social media platform today. The Facebook page, “We Like Small Government,” fosters debate on the appropriate size and scope of government, the impact high taxes and more regulations have on job creation, and the importance of economic opportunity and individual freedom. The page has already amassed over 400,000 fans and surges Generation Opportunity’s total fan base to well over 4 million young adults.
“Every day, young Americans search for meaningful, full-time jobs in a career of their choice and, instead, experience first-hand the stark reality imposed by the poor economy – high unemployment and overall lack of economic opportunity. Rather than resorting to pessimism, however, young adults are taking a harder look at who and what is creating barriers to economic opportunity. Increasingly, they identify elected officials and policies that result in more government interference with employers and overreach in the private sector and small businesses as a prime source of the lack of economic opportunity. As they continue to deal with the highest sustained unemployment since World War II, Millennials have definitely concluded that government intervention in the economy is the problem, not the solution,” said Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor. “In an effort to change the status quo, young adults are determined to organize and mobilize themselves on the principle that people, not government, are the creative source of opportunity and that America needs to be placed on a better path forward.”
Earlier this month, Generation Opportunity released the non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) unemployment data for Millennials for July 2012:
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- The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds specifically for July 2012 is 12.7 percent (NSA).
- The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans for July 2012 is 22.3 percent (NSA); the youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old Hispanics for July 2012 is 14.0 percent (NSA); and the youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old women for July 2012 is 12.6 percent (NSA)
- The declining labor participation rate has created an additional 1.715 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by U.S. Department of Labor (BLS) because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.
- If the labor force participation rate were factored into the 18-29 youth unemployment calculation, the actual 18-29-unemployment rate would rise to 16.7 percent (NSA).
Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and a highlighted result for all young Americans ages 18-29 appears below:
Millennials – Economic Growth and Government:[list type="arrow"] [li]
- Only 31% of those 18-29 approve of Obama’s handling of the youth unemployment.
- 53% believe lowering business taxes increase hiring.
- 59% believe the economy grows when people are allowed to create business without government interference.
- 69% of 18-29 year-olds prefer reducing federal spending over raising personal taxes to balance the budget
Millennials – Delayed Dreams from a Poor Economy and the Lack of Opportunity:[list type="arrow"] [li]
- 77% of young people ages 18-29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors:
- 44% delay buying a home;
- 28% delay saving for retirement;
- 27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
- 27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
- 26% delay changing jobs/cities;
- 23% delay starting a family;
- 18% delay getting married.
ABOUT GENERATION OPPORTUNITY
Generation Opportunity is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(4) organization that seeks to engage everyone from young adults, to early career professionals, college students, young mothers and fathers, construction workers, current service men and women, veterans, entrepreneurs, and all Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow.
Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18-29. The organization’s social media platforms – “Being American by GO,” “The Constitution by GO,” “Gas Prices Are Too Damn High,” “Lower Taxes by GO,” “Keep Texas Awesome,” “Jersey Proud,” and “We Like Small Government” on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 4 million. The pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.
Berkley’s Rhetoric Doesn’t Add Up
Claims to Fight for Middle-Class But Her Record Suggests Otherwise
(Las Vegas, NV) – For fourteen years, Shelley Berkley has claimed she is helping the middle-class, but yet time after time she has supported policies that hurt small businesses and destroy the very jobs middle-class Nevadans are looking for. Now, nearly 164,000 unemployed Nevadans are facing the consequences.
“Seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s rhetoric does not add up. Over the course of fourteen years, Congresswoman Berkley has racked up a long record of job-killing, anti-middle-class policies, and now everyday Nevadans are forced to deal with the consequences. Shelley Berkley talks about championing the middle-class, but then turns around and proactively destroys job opportunities for the nearly 164,000 unemployed Nevadans,” said Chandler Smith, Heller for Senate spokeswoman.
Dean Heller’s hard work to create jobs and help small businesses was confirmed last week when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Reno, Sparks and Northern Nevada endorsed Dean Heller in the race for United States Senate.
Berkley has repeatedly voted to raise taxes on job creators even within the last few months.
- On July 27, 2012, Shelley Berkley voted against H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012, which would extend tax relief for job creators earning over $250,000 and could cost Nevada 6,000 jobs and more than 900,000 nationwide. (H.R. 8, House Roll Call Vote #545)
· On April 17, 2012 Congresswoman Berkley voted against the Small Business Tax Cut Act. The bill would give a 20% tax cut that will help 22 million hard-working small businesses retain and create more jobs. The legislation would ultimately provide $46 billion in tax relief to small businesses and could affect as many as 45,000 small businesses in Nevada with between 1-500 employees.
Before an audience of business leaders in Nevada, candidate Berkley claimed she “wants to eliminate the estate tax, a popular Republican position.” (Cristina Silva, Rep. Berkley champions small businesses in Vegas, Associated Press, 4/11/12)
But in fact the seven-term Congresswoman voted against the estate multiple times, including once when then-Congressman Heller proposed the motion.
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· In 1999, Berkley voted against a tax cut package that would reduce estate and gift taxes until they were completely eliminated in 2009.
· In 2001, 2002 and 2003, Berkley voted to replace a bill that would repeal the estate tax by 2010 with different legislation bill that would keep the estate tax, but raise the exemption threshold.
· In 2007, Berkley voted against a motion to permanently repeal the estate tax.
· In 2009, Berkley voted against repealing the estate tax two times, once when then-Congressman Dean Heller proposed the motion.
· In 2012, Berkley voted against a budget that would eliminate the estate tax.
Shelley Berkley supported ObamaCare, the massive government healthcare takeover known for destroying jobs and small businesses:
· ObamaCare costs 800,000 jobs at a time when Nevada leads the nation in unemployment. (Jeffrey H. Anderson, “CBO Director Says ObamaCare Would Reduce Employment by 800,000 Workers,” The Weekly Standard, 2/10/2011)
· ObamaCare is forcing one in eight small businesses to either terminate their plan or notify employees it is going to be eliminated. (“Some Small Businesses Say Health Insurers Are Dropping Their Coverage, Kaiser Health News, July 25, 2011)
- ObamaCare discourages job creation by raising the price of hiring: “If you increase the price of labor, companies will buy less of it. Requiring employers to buy health insurance for some workers makes them more expensive, at least in the short run. Particularly vulnerable are low-skilled workers…” (Robert Samuelson, “The folly of Obamacare,” Washington Post, August 4, 2012)
Shelley Berkley has repeatedly voted federal regulations that are stunting job growth in Nevada and across the country.
- On June 19, 2012, Berkley voted against the Grazing Improvement Act, which means she chose to protect federal regulations over Nevada’s family businesses. The Grazing Improvement Act would give grazers greater certainty about their permit renewal. Without this bill, permit holders are forced to rely on year-to-year appropriations bill.
- Berkley voted against the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078), which would put a stop to the government’s ever-increasing burden on businesses and the economy.
- A recent Gallup poll showed that 46 percent of small business owners are not hiring because they are worried about new government regulations. As many as 48 percent say they are worried about the potential costs of health care. (“Health Costs, Gov’t Regulations Curb Small Business Hiring,” Gallup, February 15, 2012)
And Congresswoman Berkley has voted against 20 bipartisan jobs bills:
1) Berkley opposed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R 872).
Bill reduces overlapping and unnecessary regulation on pesticides and reduces costs to both farmers and small business owners.
2) Berkley opposed the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910).
Legislation prohibits the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and prevents a needless increase in energy prices for American households and businesses.
3) Berkley failed to vote on a Resolution of Disapproval Regarding FCC’s Regulation (H.J. Res. 37). Legislation prevents the federal government from regulating the Internet and broadband providers.
4) Berkley opposed the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R 1230). Bill reduced energy prices and creates jobs by promoting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.
5) Berkley voted against the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229). Bill promotes job creation and reduces energy prices by reinstating oil drilling permits in the Gulf Coast.
6) Berkley voted against the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R 1231).
Legislation promotes lower energy costs and job creation by allowing drilling in at least 50 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf areas known to contain the most oil and gas.
7) Berkley opposed the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (H.R 2021).
Bill promotes job growth and reduces energy costs by expediting the process of obtaining an offshore drilling permit.
8) Berkley voted against the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (H.R 2018), which prevents federal government from interfering with a state’s water quality program once that state has already met existing federal standards.
9) Berkley opposed the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1315). Legislation promotes consumer protection and allows the Financial Stability Oversight Council to vote to set aside any harmful federal regulation.
10) Berkley voted against the North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938)
Legislation creates jobs and ensures energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
11) Berkley opposed the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587). Legislation would guarantee private companies the ability to develop their businesses in the state that offers the best opportunities for growth, job creation and stability.
12) Berkley voted “no” on the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts (TRAIN) Act (H.R. 2401). Legislation mandates an evaluation of the economic impacts of EPA regulations and delay the final dates for both the maximum achievable control technology (Utility MACT) standards and the cross-state air pollution rule (CSAPR) until the full impact has been studied. Both regulations would cost consumers and businesses $184 billion from 2011-2030 and would skyrocket electrical prices.
13) Berkley voted against the EPA Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2250). Bill alleviates the excessive regulatory burden placed on employers by the EPA’s Boiler MACT rules, potentially costing companies $14 billion and 224,000 American jobs, and replacing them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs.
14) Berkley voted against the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273). Legislation provides consistent, safe management of coal combustion residuals in a way that protects jobs and encourages recycling and beneficial use.
15) Berkley opposed the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 3010). Legislation would require agencies to assess costs and benefits of new regulations on small businesses.
16) Berkley voted against the Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act of 2011. Legislation closes loopholes used by federal agencies that allow them to impose costly, job-crushing regulations.
17) Berkley voted to kill the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094). Bill would make sure President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could not impose sweeping new regulations that threaten American jobs.
18) Berkley opposed the Regulatory Flexibility Act (H.R. 527). Legislation would require federal agencies to analyze fully the impact a new regulation would have on small businesses, before the agency adopts the regulation.
19) Berkley voted against the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 3010). The bill would update and reform the rulemaking process by setting mandatory rulemaking principles.
20) Berkley voted against the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011 (H.R. 10), which would increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process. The REINS Act would result in more carefully drafted and detailed legislation, an improved regulatory process, and a legislative branch that is truly accountable to the American people for the laws imposed upon them.
21) Berkley voted against the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 1633). Legislation would keep the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing, implementing, or enforcing any regulation revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard applicable to coarse particulate matter under the Clean Air Act for at least one year from the date of enactment.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
The 60-Plus Association, a Republican-favoring national organization, is launching a new TV ad blitz in Florida today featuring Pat Boone attacking U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, contending that the Affordable Care Act will put bureaucrats between seniors and Medicare treatment.
The ad calls the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created under the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, to review and reduce Medicare costs “like a Medicare IRS.”
The $276,000 television ad campaign will run statewide in Florida beginning on August 15 and running through August 28.
That board was created to replace a previous Medicare board that had advisory power only. The new 15-member board, nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, and to include doctors and patient advocates, will have executive power to administer changes in Medicare coverage if costs climb, though it is specifically prohibited by law from “recommending any policies that ration care, raise taxes, increase premiums or cost-sharing, restrict benefits or modify who is eligible for Medicare,” according to a White House analysis.
The 60-Plus Association, which calls it part of the “Obama-Nelson health care agenda,” argues that it puts bureacrats between seniors and health care.
Nelson now is in line to defend against Republican Senate challenger U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, who won the GOP primary Tuesday.
“Call Senator Nelson,” Pat Boone implores. “Tell him: Unaccountable bureaucrats should never have the power to deny you the care you deserve.”
“Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end.”
– Brian Brown, NOM president –
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) immediately condemned today’s attack upon the Family Research Council (FRC) and offered its “heartfelt prayers” for the heroic security guard who apprehended an armed assailant expressing disagreement with FRC’s positions before opening fire, shooting the security guard in the process. The FBI is investigating the incident as a case of domestic terrorism.
“Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end,” said Brian Brown, President of NOM. “The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Family Research Council a ‘hate group’ for its pro-marriage views, and less than a day ago the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement calling FRC a ‘hate group’ – they even specified that FRC hosts events in Washington, DC, where today’s attack took place.”
“NOM has always condemned all violence and vilification connected to our ongoing national debate about the meaning and definition of marriage,” Brown stated. “For too long national gay rights groups have intentionally marginalized and ostracized pro-marriage groups and individuals by labeling them as ‘hateful’ and ‘bigoted’ — such harmful and dangerous labels deserve no place in our civil society and NOM renews its call today for gay rights groups and the Southern Poverty Law Center to withdraw such incendiary rhetoric from a debate that involves millions of good Americans,” added Brown.
Brown concluded: “Violence is never the answer, and on that we all must agree, or risk the consequences.”
1998: “…appeared to solicit corruption of two county commissioners.” – UNLV ethicist Craig Walton
2011: “…pushed legislation or twisted the arms of federal regulators to pursue an agenda that is aligned with the business interests of her husband…”
2012: “Shelley Berkley faces formal ethics investigation”
(Las Vegas, NV) – Heller for Senate released a new ad today highlighting seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s pattern of questionable ethics and public corruption. To view the ad now airing statewide, click here.
1) Fact: Shelley Berkley urged her boss to give money to judges and county commissioners to get special favors.
Documentation: “In one memo, Berkley, a lawyer and university regent, reportedly encouraged Adelson to contribute to the campaigns of judges, suggesting they tended to return the favor…Berkley also was overheard on the phone conversation discussing attempts to persuade Adelson to do favors for two county commissioners, Yvonne Atkinson Gates and Erin Kenny. She allegedly encouraged Adelson to give Gates a daiquiri concession and hire the uncle of Commissioner Erin Kenny at the $2 billion Venetian hotel-casino to help grease the way for construction of the megaresort.”
Citation: “Berkley apologizes for remarks,” Las Vegas Sun, June 9, 1998
2) Fact: She got fired.
Documentation: “But Berkley, in a memo she wrote while a Las Vegas Sands employee, and in a taped conversation just after she was fired, gives the impression that she doesn’t believe Las Vegas has grown up much at all. In fact, the memo and tape indicate Berkley believes Las Vegas remains a great rotten borough — to borrow the title of Gilman Ostrander’s 1966 book about Nevada — a town where juice is obtained with payoffs disguised as campaign contributions and where elected officials can be purchased with business ventures or jobs for relatives.”
Citation: Jon Ralston, “Comments raise ugly specters,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 4, 1998
3) Fact: Bipartisan House Ethics Committee has voted unanimously to investigate Berkley for using her office for personal gain.
Documentation: ”In a move that shakes up the U.S. Senate race in Nevada, the House Ethics Committee announced Monday it will investigate allegations that Rep. Shelley Berkley used her office wrongfully to advance health policies that benefited her husband, a prominent Las Vegas doctor. The committee’s leaders said the panel voted unanimously to establish a four-member subcommittee armed with subpoena powers to conduct the probe, a process expected to stretch through the summer and fall and cloud the Las Vegas Democrat as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate.”
Citation: Laura Myers, Steve Tetreault, “House panel to investigate allegations against Berkley,”
Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 9, 2012
4) Fact: Advocating corruption
Documentation: “University of Nevada, Las Vegas ethicist Craig Walton said Friday that Berkley needs to apologize to voters for offering advice that appeared to solicit corruption of two county commissioners. ‘Of course, anything resembling the use of office for any kind of gain or advantage is forbidden by the ethics in government law. To undertake to corrupt a person is certainly wrong,’ Walton said. ‘If (Berkley) is teaching newcomers to town (Adelson) that this is how we live around there, it’s bad advice.’”
Citation: “DA: Berkley’s suggestions broke no laws,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 6, 1998
5) Fact: Twisting arms
Documentation: “Ms. Berkley’s actions were among a series over the last five years in which she pushed legislation or twisted the arms of federal regulators to pursue an agenda that is aligned with the business interests of her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner.”
Citation: “A Congresswoman’s Cause Is Often Her Husband’s Gain,” New York Times, Sept. 6, 2011
6) Fact: Taking care of herself
Documentation: “In a move that shakes up the U.S. Senate race in Nevada, the House
Ethics Committee announced Monday it will investigate allegations that Rep. Shelley
Berkley used her office wrongfully to advance health policies that benefited her husband, a
prominent Las Vegas doctor.”
Citation: “House panel to investigate allegations against Berkley,” Las Vegas Review-
Journal, July 9, 2012
Las Vegas Sun
Berkley apologizes for remarks
Tuesday, June 9, 1998
Congressional candidate Shelley Berkley apologized Monday for her “bad judgment” in conveying the impression that business is conducted in Las Vegas by doing favors for politicians.
“I am very sorry for what happened,” Berkley said in an interview with the Sun. “I’m sorry for the words and expressions I used and the ideas those words conveyed. I’m embarrassed, and I know I’ve disappointed people. But most of all, I’ve disappointed myself.
Berkley, the leading Democrat in the 1st Congressional District, said she believes she “inadvertently contributed to the cynicism that permeates the political process.”
Her thoughts about Southern Nevada politics reportedly were expressed in a May 1997 telephone conversation secretly recorded by a friend, and in private 1996 memos to her former boss, Las Vegas Sands Inc. Chairman Sheldon Adelson.
The existence of the tape and the memos were disclosed in news reports last week.
In one memo, Berkley, a lawyer and university regent, reportedly encouraged Adelson to contribute to the campaigns of judges, suggesting they tended to return the favor. Adelson wrote back chastising her for making that comment.
Berkley also was overheard on the phone conversation discussing attempts to persuade Adelson to do favors for two county commissioners, Yvonne Atkinson Gates and Erin Kenny.
She allegedly encouraged Adelson to give Gates a daiquiri concession and hire the uncle of Commissioner Erin Kenny at the $2 billion Venetian hotel-casino to help grease the way for construction of the megaresort.
But Adelson was said to have refused to help the commissioners.
He has since been backing a campaign to recall Gates from office over her aborted attempts to start up the daiquiri business.
Adelson was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
Las Vegas Sands President William Weidner, who has called Berkley’s words “offensive,” did not return phone calls.
Berkley insisted she was only doing her job, as a political and legal adviser, when she recommended the favors for Gates and Kenny.
“At no time did I ever offer anything to an elected official to get their vote,” she said. “And neither did any elected official make such a request of me.
Berkley, who said she never meant to hurt anyone, apologized directly last week to Gates and Kenny, whom she considers good friends.
She has learned from this experience to more carefully weigh her words before she speaks, she said.
Berkley has never been given an opportunity to hear the tape and doesn’t know for sure who was on the other end of the conversation, she said.
“The truly scary thing about this is it could be somebody who is still pretending to be my friend,” she said.
Berkley surmised that the conversation was illegally recorded a couple of days after Adelson, a prominent Republican Party donor, fired her as his vice president of government relations.
“I was angry. I was hurt,” Berkley said. “I was very blunt and candid, and I was speaking to someone I trusted who I thought was a friend.”
Berkley said she was concerned that a person was willing to commit a crime to hurt her political career.
It is a felony in Nevada to tape a phone conversation without the knowledge or consent of the other party.
“Someone is trying to keep me out of Congress and silence my voice on important issues,” Berkley said. “This just makes me fight harder for what I believe in.”
Berkley said the controversy has energized her campaign.
About 400 supporters, she said, attended a campaign fund-raiser for her over the weekend.
“The outpouring of support from my volunteers and people in the community has been extraordinary over the last several days,” she said.
“This attack is designed to take everybody’s attention away from the important issues that affect working men and women in this community. I’m not going to let that happen.”
Her campaign manager, Gary Gray, suggested word of the secret taping has created a “climate of fear” within the political world.
“If all of this starts with somebody committing a felony to obtain a tape, what’s going to follow?” he asked. “What person running for office is going to feel comfortable talking on the phone with a friend after last week?”
When discussing the memo to Adelson about the judges last week, Berkley suggested that her former boss had set her up.
This week, she declined to elaborate.
But she said: “Only two people had the memo, and I didn’t leak it. You can draw your own conclusion.”
Adelson is known to be supporting one, maybe two, Republicans in the congressional race.
One of the Republicans is said to be former District Judge Don Chairez, who filed for office on the final day of last month’s two-week filing period.
Chairez did not return phone calls.
Berkley intends to continue talking about the issues and get past this “little bump in the road.
“I’m going to work harder to prove that I deserve to be in Washington,” she said.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Comments raise ugly specters
June 4, 1998
In her stump speech, Democratic congressional candidate Shelley Berkley likes to tell audiences that she ‘didn’t just grow up in Las Vegas … I grew up with Las Vegas.’
But Berkley, in a memo she wrote while a Las Vegas Sands employee, and in a taped conversation just after she was fired, gives the impression that she doesn’t believe Las Vegas has grown up much at all. In fact, the memo and tape indicate Berkley believes Las Vegas remains a great rotten borough _ to borrow the title of Gilman Ostrander’s 1966 book about Nevada _ a town where juice is obtained with payoffs disguised as campaign contributions and where elected officials can be purchased with business ventures or jobs for relatives.
What that says about the university regent and longtime Democratic Party activist, the voters will decide come November. This is a heck of a self-inflicted wound, but $ 600,000 in campaign money can buy a heck of a large Band-Aid. What she has done, however, despite a hard-earned reputation for integrity and forthrightness, is give her arch-enemy and former boss, Sheldon Adelson, as well as her GOP opponents, a pulverizing issue.
The memo she wrote to Adelson on Sept. 24, 1996, speaks for itself. She follows up a recitation about how some judges had been, among other things, ‘instrumental in dismissing tickets’ for Sands employees by declaring: ‘Judges, like all candidates, rely on campaign contributions. Since they are also human, they tend to help those (who) have helped them. If we want to be able to continue contacting the judges when we need to, I strongly urge that we donate to the judges I recommended.’ So give to a judge and, as she puts it on the tape, ‘instead of a $ 500 fine, you pay a $ 20 fine.’
Berkley downplayed the memo’s verbiage Wednesday and insisted she was just acting at Adelson’s behest. But she was not just following orders _ she was advocating Adelson play the game, which he apparently refused to do.
Berkley essentially said in the memo and the tape _ and hardly backed away from it on Wednesday _ that Adelson had incinerated his relationship with many elected officials and powerful Las Vegans with his fiery anti-unionism and antagonism toward the convention authority. And the remedy she proposed was to reclaim the Democratic county commissioners (Erin Kenny and Yvonne Atkinson Gates) by helping them in their non-elected lives. They could have ‘gotten Erin’ by giving her uncle a $ 30,000-a-year job. And Gates ‘wants money’ so they could have curried favor by giving her a daiquiri kiosk.
The problem for Berkley is not only that this is so inflammatory, even explosive. But what she said appears to contradict her testimony before the state Ethics Commission during the investigation of Gatesgate.
The reactions will be multifarious. Some will question Berkley’s judgment in writing the memo. Others will say they knew her loquaciousness would someday land her in a jackpot. Others will lambaste Adelson for a vendetta.
For some, her comments about Las Vegas will ring all too true _ especially with Atkinson Gates’ ‘everybody does it’ defense on her daiquiri plan and the Cronyism Central now being exposed at the airport. Others will fret that she has set back whatever maturity the town has reached by her inveterate cynicism.
On Wednesday, Berkley continually invoked her own reputation for rectitude and contrasted it with the sleazy political hit she was absorbing. But she will have a tough time playing the martyr when she was advocating odious political tactics.
She also raised the issues of appointing judges and public campaign financing as two good ideas to inoculate politics against corruption. But there is no vaccine for venality. And Las Vegas _ and Shelley Berkley _ have either grown up or they haven’t.
Jon Ralston publishes The Ralston Report, a political newsletter. His column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
House panel to investigate allegations against Berkley
Steve Tetreault and Laura Myers
Updated July 10, 2012
WASHINGTON – In a move that shakes up the U.S. Senate race in Nevada, the House Ethics Committee announced Monday it will investigate allegations that Rep. Shelley Berkley used her office wrongfully to advance health policies that benefited her husband, a prominent Las Vegas doctor.
The committee’s leaders said the panel voted unanimously to establish a four-member subcommittee armed with subpoena powers to conduct the probe, a process expected to stretch through the summer and fall and cloud the Las Vegas Democrat as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate.
Berkley, a seven-term U.S. House member, has been working on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail since late last summer under the shadow of questions about possible ethical conflicts, which she has denied repeatedly.
The race between Berkley and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is one of the closest Senate contests in the nation and could determine whether Democrats and their leader, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., maintain control after 2012.
Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Cook Political Report, said the ethics probe is a blow to Berkley, giving Republicans stronger ammunition against her and probably keeping the matter open all the way to Election Day.
“The issue stays alive through the campaign, and Republicans got a little bit more juice behind it with the unanimous vote” from five Democrats and five Republicans on the panel, Duffy said.
“And they get to keep talking about it. And I think she’s more on the defensive now. In a race where everything counts, this is not something that Berkley needs hanging over her head. In a close race, everything matters.”
In a front-page story Sept. 6, The New York Times reported on intersections between Berkley’s advocacy on kidney care matters and the Las Vegas nephrology practice of her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner.
The paper reported that in 2008, Berkley lobbied the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to withdraw an order that would have revoked certification of the kidney transplant unit at University Medical Center, where her husband’s practice, Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada, directed kidney services.
It also reported that Berkley, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, sponsored at least six bills to expand federal payments and other assistance to kidney doctors, wrote letters to block federal regulations and appeared at fundraisers sponsored by a professional group that had an association with her spouse.
The news story triggered a complaint to Congress from the Nevada Republican Party charging Berkley “used her office to enrich herself,” in violation of House rules that forbid lawmakers from using their official positions for personal gain.
BERKLEY CAMPAIGN RESPONDS
Berkley’s campaign said Monday it was “pleased with the committee’s decision to conduct a full and fair investigation, which will ensure all the facts are reviewed.”
“We are confident that ultimately it will be clear that Congresswoman Berkley’s one and only concern was for the health and well-being of Nevada’s patients,” said campaign manager Jessica Mackler.
Democrats publicly rallied. Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the organization’s support for Berkley’s Senate bid “remains as strong as ever.”
Reid said Berkley will fight through the investigation.
“Nevadans want a senator who will fight for them and Shelley has made it clear that no one will fight harder than her,” Reid said in a statement. “She is a strong advocate for Nevada’s middle class and will work to put Nevadans back to work.”
Heller, whom Berkley is trying to unseat in November, declined to comment.
Republican surrogates noted that the Ethics Committee’s decision to launch a full investigation was unanimous among its five Democrats and five Republicans, suggesting there may be more than has been made public.
“It speaks volumes that even Shelley Berkley’s Democrat colleagues unanimously voted to move forward investigating Berkley’s use of her office to enrich her and her husband,” said Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
INITIAL REVIEW LEADS TO REFERRAL
In a preliminary review, the Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” there were violations and recommended the full Ethics Committee take up the case.
The Berkley matter is the first referral the committee has accepted for a full investigation out of 13 preliminary recommendations in this Congress.
Berkley has defended her actions, saying they were motivated by her desire to help Nevada patients and not to line her husband’s pockets. Her wedding to Lehrner in 1999 propelled her to the upper levels of wealth among House lawmakers, with assets in 2010 valued at between $9.7 million and $21.2 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Berkley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an interview last month that she did not believe her Senate race against Heller would pivot on ethics, but rather “what are we going to do to get people back to work.”
Her advisers say they believe she can campaign effectively while under investigation. Berkley has portrayed herself as a friend of middle-class Nevadans, Latinos, women, veterans and other key voting blocs. She also is counting on the state’s Reid-erected Democratic machine, along with whatever coattails President Barack Obama generates, to forge a victory.
While Heller will remain above the fray, “the Republican outside groups will keep this going,” said David Damore, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
REPUBLICAN PAC PROMISES MORE ADS
The American Crossroads PAC spent $300,000 last month to run a television ad in Nevada reminding viewers of the allegations against Berkley. She aired a rebuttal the next day.
American Crossroads spokesman Nate Hodson suggested more to come.
“No ad up in Nevada at the moment, but as you know we raised the issue in ads first with a hefty buy,” Hodson said in an email. “The unanimous decision by the House ethics committee points to the fact that Shelley Berkley was more interested in enriching her family than working to fix the broken economy.”
Dan Hart, a Democratic operative not associated with Berkley’s campaign, seemed surprised that the Democrats on the panel had joined in opening an investigation. In his view, “there was no convincing evidence to move forward.”
The Berkley campaign was “going to have to deal with it no matter what happened today because the political ads were going to make an issue of it,” Hart said. “It’s not the best outcome, but it’s not the worst outcome. They could have delivered some sort of reprimand. But when you’re in a campaign, you want to leave this stuff behind you and get a result.”
Robert Uithoven, a GOP operative not involved in the Heller campaign, said Congress rarely investigates its members, and so the news coming less than four months from Nov. 6 is particularly bad, with implications for Berkley’s fundraising through the slow summer and her efforts to talk about issues that play to her strengths.
“I think everything becomes more complicated for her,” Uithoven said. “It’s tough to spin this in any positive way. It’s not only a distraction of time, it’s a distraction of resources.
“I don’t think it affects the Democratic or Republicans voters, but it could affect the huge number of independent voters in this state,” he added, explaining that independent voters “are probably more sick of Washington than any of the partisan voters are.”
The committee’s vote was taken June 29, the last day before the House members recessed for a weeklong holiday. The decision was announced Monday, their first day back, by the committee chairman, Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., and the ranking Democrat, Rep Linda Sanchez of California.
In a four-paragraph statement, they said the investigative subcommittee would determine whether Berkley violated the House code of conduct or any other rules or laws “with respect to alleged communications and activities with or on behalf of entities in which Representative Berkley’s husband had a financial interest.”
The investigation will be led by Rep. Mike Conaway, a four-term Republican from Texas, and Rep. Donna Edwards, a three-term Democrat from Maryland. The other two members are Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
HOUSE ETHICS MANUAL DEFINES RULE
The U.S. House code generally allows lawmakers to act on matters that affect a large class of people even if the individual “may stand to derive some incidental benefit along with others in the same class,” according to its ethics manual. For instance, it is permissible for lawmakers who are farmers to act on agriculture matters.
“Only when members’ actions would serve their own narrow, financial interests as distinct from those of their constituents should the Members refrain,” the manual states.
Punishment could range from expulsion, the most serious, to censure or reprimand, and possibly suspension.
Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who heads an ethics watchdog group, said there often is some amount of negotiating between the ethics committee and lawmakers accused of wrongdoing, with the goal to avoid having to convene a full investigation.
“There is so much strategy involved,” said Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “They may have talked about resolving it with some kind of letter, but it may also be Berkley made a calculation of refusing to resolve it with a letter, thinking that would hurt her more.”
Sloan, who emphasized that she did not have inside information, said the Berkley case could widen the definition of what constitutes a conflict of interest for House members.
BERKLEY MAKES HER CASE
In fighting accusations that she pulled strings to save the UMC kidney transplant program, Berkley has pointed out that Nevada’s two other U.S. House members – Republican Reps. Jon Porter and then-Rep. Heller – joined in pressing federal officials to reconsider penalties against the hospital. Shutting down the kidney transplant unit would have cut off local care to more than 200 patients.
Berkley has said her sponsorship of bills that would have benefited kidney doctors were nothing out of the ordinary among more than 100 health-related pieces of legislation she has sponsored or co-sponsored.
“I wasn’t thinking about the politics of it, and I wasn’t worrying about the politics of it. It did not occur to me,” she said last month in an interview on the “Face to Face” news program. “My only concern was to provide good health care in the state of Nevada for the people that live here.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal
DA: Berkley’s suggestions broke no laws
June 06, 1998
By Jane Ann Morrison
Nothing he saw in a memo authored by congressional candidate Shelley Berkley advocating campaign contributions for judges in exchange for favors would constitute a crime, District Attorney Stewart Bell said Friday.
“It’s not a crime for people to believe that by making contributions to persons in authority that they can curry favor,” he said. “The important thing is for the elected officials to have the integrity that that not be a reality.”
However, some attorneys are questioning whether her legal advice crossed the boundaries of legal ethics, and a university ethics professor said she appeared to solicit public corruption and needs to apologize.
Berkley had told her bosses at the Sands hotel that it was important to give campaign donations to judges in order to be able to continue asking them for help with tickets and citations issued to hotel employees.
She also urged Las Vegas Sands Inc. Chairman Sheldon Adelson to give a job to County Commissioner Erin Kenny’s uncle and a daiquiri concession to County Commissioner Yvonne Atkinson Gates in order to get their needed votes for his new hotel, The Venetian. Adelson refused.
Bell said he didn’t know enough about the facts of those two suggestions to comment.
Mary Boetsch, chairwoman of the Nevada Ethics Commission, also declined to comment on Berkley’s statements. She cited the commission’s pending investigation of three county commissioners — Atkinson Gates, Lance Malone and Myrna Williams — about whether they should have disclosed personal relationships they had with people they voted to give lucrative airport concessions.
Berkley was giving her advice to Adelson in her role as Sands’ attorney and vice president of governmental and legal affairs.
State Bar counsel Rob Bare said he couldn’t speculate as to whether Berkley’s legal advice to her Sands bosses constituted any kind of violation of the code of ethics for attorneys.
One Las Vegas attorney, who asked to remain anonymous, said Berkley is walking close to an ethical violation.
“Offering someone a job and then saying essentially that we have them in our pocket, that’s very, very close,” the attorney said. But as to the judicial campaign contributions, he said, “She put down in writing what everybody does. The ones that are discreet don’t put anything in writing.”
University of Nevada, Las Vegas ethicist Craig Walton said Friday that Berkley needs to apologize to voters for offering advice that appeared to solicit corruption of two county commissioners.
“Of course, anything resembling the use of office for any kind of gain or advantage is forbidden by the ethics in government law. To undertake to corrupt a person is certainly wrong,” Walton said. “If (Berkley) is teaching newcomers to town (Adelson) that this is how we live around there, it’s bad advice.”
Berkley couldn’t be reached late Friday, but her campaign manager Gary Gray said “clearly she regrets some of this. She’s expressed that regret to a number of people. Shelley Berkley has already acknowledged to many that she had erred in her judgment, but it’s not really prudent to comment until we can see and listen to this tape that we’ve never been allowed to listen to.”
Gray declined to say who Berkley has apologized to, but Atkinson Gates said Berkley has apologized to her for saying in a tape-recorded conversation in 1997 with an acquaintance that the commissioner “wants money.” She also said Kenny’s vote could be obtained by hiring her uncle.
In an interview Wednesday, Berkley did not back away from her advice to Adelson, saying he could win approval for his project and the two commissioners’ votes if he did as she urged. She said while she wouldn’t have personally condoned her advice, she would give it again.
As the head of UNLV’s Institute for Ethics and Policy Studies, Walton said he is familiar with the code of ethics for attorneys.
Walton said as an officer of the court, “Your first duty is to the laws of the United States, and the laws of Nevada, then you serve the client. You don’t serve the client first and get around to the laws afterward.”
Walton said her memo that judges needed contributions before she could call them for help suggested corruption.
“It sounds like you make these contributions and you will be rewarded in a way other people are not allowed to. I wish she would make a clarification or even an apology,” Walton said.
Walton speculated that the Ethics Commission may want to look at some of the apparent contradictions between her January testimony and her candid telephone comments.
“The commission doesn’t want to leave the impression you can testify one way and if other information comes to light later that doesn’t matter,” Walton said. “It’s good for everyone to know that testifying is serious.”
He attended the January hearings over Atkinson Gates’ daiquiri proposal where both Berkley and Adelson testified.
“I saw they couldn’t both be telling the truth,” he said. “And the Ethics Commission didn’t pursue that much.”
He believes there will be political damage for Berkley “if she sort of stonewalls this.” He suggested she apologize and reject her views that giving campaign contributions and jobs for commissioners and their relatives is the routine way to do business in Las Vegas.
“She needs to say, `If you send me to Washington, I won’t do these kinds of things,’ then the campaign can go forward,” Walton said.
But he acknowledged if she reverses herself now, voters would wonder, “Which one of the Shelleys do I believe?
“But if she takes the approach that `the Sands and Adelson are after me and the tape is faked,’ that will alienate the voters,” Walton said.
Southern Nevada voters, particularly the influx of new people, “don’t like this idea that everybody is for sale and the public office is a public trough.”
New York Times
A Congresswoman’s Cause Is Often Her Husband’s Gain
September 5, 2011
LAS VEGAS — At the University Medical Center here, alarms were set off three years ago — kidney transplants were failing at unusually high rates, and some patients were even dying.
Federal regulators moved to shut down the kidney transplant program, but the proposed penalty brought a rebuke from Representative Shelley Berkley, Democrat of Nevada, who helped lead a successful effort to get the officials from Washington to back down.
In pleading for a reprieve, Ms. Berkley and other members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation said they were acting on behalf of the state’s families, citing dire health consequences if the program was halted. But the congresswoman’s efforts also benefited her husband, a physician whose nephrology practice directs medical services at the hospital’s kidney care department — an arrangement that expanded after her intervention and is now reflected in a $738,000-a-year contract with the hospital.
Ms. Berkley’s actions were among a series over the last five years in which she pushed legislation or twisted the arms of federal regulators to pursue an agenda that is aligned with the business interests of her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner. In addition to the hospital contract, he operates a dozen dialysis centers in Nevada and has played a central role in an industry campaign to lobby members of Congress — including his wife — on behalf of kidney care providers.
Dr. Lehrner helped build a political action committee that has regularly turned to Ms. Berkley to champion its causes. She has co-sponsored at least five House bills that would expand federal reimbursements or other assistance for kidney care, written letters to regulators to block enforcing rules or ease the flow of money to kidney care centers and appeared regularly at fund-raising events sponsored by a professional organization her husband has helped run.
“This is a very serious conflict of interest,” said James A. Thurber, a former Congressional aide who has helped revise ethics rules and is now director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. “There is an official use of power here to help him and the family — and I think that is unethical.”
Ms. Berkley declined an interview request for this article. But in a statement, she said she was an advocate for a broad range of health care causes and had never acted specifically to help her husband’s practice.
“I won’t stop fighting to give Nevadans access to affordable health care just because my husband is a doctor, just like I won’t stop standing up for veterans because my father served in World War II,” she said.
Dr. Lehrner, though, said he was unabashed about pressing his wife on issues that were important to his practice.
“She is definitely aware of my positions, and the R.P.A.’s positions,” he said in an interview, referring to the Renal Physicians Association, the trade group he has helped run. “We talk politics all the time. We talk medicine.”
Congressional ethics rules are murky — lawmakers can take steps that financially benefit a spouse as long as the benefit is broadly available and there is no “improper exercise of official influence.” Lobbying of lawmakers by their spouses is prohibited, but there is no ban on spouses’ informally acting as industry advocates, like Dr. Lehrner, who is not a registered lobbyist.
The intermingling of Ms. Berkley’s public and private life, though, is striking even among her peers on Capitol Hill, and surfaced in an examination by The New York Times of how lawmakers forge particularly close ties to industries with an agenda in Washington.
As Ms. Berkley has pushed the cause of kidney care in Congress, her husband’s practice has boomed, thanks in part to his joint ownership of dialysis centers with DaVita, a giant in the industry and one of Ms. Berkley’s biggest campaign contributors. She is one of the richest members of Congress, as she or her husband hold assets valued from $7 million to $23 million, according to her most recent financial disclosure forms.
Now running for the Senate seat held by John Ensign until his resignation this spring amid an ethics scandal, Ms. Berkley drives around Nevada in a white Ford Fusion (“United States Congresswoman 1” reads her license plate, referring to her Congressional district).
She often talks about her modest upbringing, in which she ate at Taco Bell while scraping by as a cocktail waitress at a casino resort hotel here. She also frequently mentions her husband’s work — she delivered a “certificate of Congressional recognition” at the ribbon cutting of his latest dialysis center last year — and cites his experiences as evidence for why Congress must act to change federal laws or policy.
“I’m sure he didn’t think in medical school that in his 60s he still would be taking calls on the weekends, but that’s the reality of the situation when you don’t have enough nephrologists to care for the population that you’re living in,” Ms. Berkley said at a House hearing in 2009, at which she pushed for higher federal reimbursements for medical specialists like her husband.
Concerns About Care
Shawn Rowlett, 40, showed up at the University Medical Center with his wife, pale and weak, four days after he had been discharged from the hospital’s transplant center with a new kidney in February 2008. But now he was hemorrhaging, medical records show.
After seeing the hospital’s chief transplant surgeon, Mr. Rowlett was left in the emergency room for five hours before being admitted, according to his wife, Dionne Rowlett. He died less than two hours later, court records show.
“The care was just horrible,” Ms. Rowlett said in a recent interview, shortly after the hospital settled a malpractice suit for $77,500 — the maximum amount allowed in Nevada because of a cap on malpractice payments from public hospitals. (Dr. Lehrner and his practice were not named in the lawsuit.)
Mr. Rowlett’s death and four recent others in the first year after the surgery, as well as 10 transplant failures, were part of a troubling pattern — the death and failure rates were more than twice the expected level. That led the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue an order to revoke the certification for the hospital’s transplant program — which does about 50 transplants a year — and cut off Medicare financing, effectively shutting the program down.
Brian G. Brannman, the medical center’s chief executive, acknowledged that the program was in disarray back then. In a recent interview, he said the hospital was mostly to blame, as its lone transplant surgeon had not been provided with a sufficient support system. Federal regulators also questioned the qualifications of the physician whom Dr. Lehrner and his partners had assigned to help screen transplant patients, leading the hospital to acknowledge in writing that he “was not formally trained in transplantation.”
Desperate for a second chance, hospital officials appealed to members of the Nevada Congressional delegation. Ms. Berkley sent a letter, signed by two other lawmakers, warning that cutting off money would “jeopardize the health of hundreds” of constituents. She and the other lawmakers helped set up a series of conference calls between hospital and Medicare officials.
Soon after, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for the first time, agreed to override provisions that would have required decertifying the program. In exchange, the hospital promised to remedy the problems.
“I spoke to the head of C.M.S. yesterday,” Ms. Berkley told local television reporters in announcing the breakthrough. “When I got off the phone, I had a good-faith belief that we were going to come up with a compromise that works for everybody.”
Kerry Weems, then the agency’s acting administrator, said he recalled speaking with Ms. Berkley and Jon Porter, then a Republican House member from Nevada, about the program. Mr. Weems could not recall if Ms. Berkley mentioned her husband’s ties to the hospital. But he said he would have approved the agreement anyway.
“You want to find a way to ‘yes’ — not based on any individual stake that a Congress person might have,” said Mr. Weems, who recently left the agency. “But this really was the only transplant center in Nevada.”
Part of the deal involved significantly expanding the staff of kidney specialists. The hospital turned to Ms. Berkley’s husband to recruit two transplant nephrologists, who, Mr. Brannman said, work more directly with the hospital’s new transplant surgeon.
Mr. Brannman said the selection of Dr. Lehrner’s practice — it was the sole bidder for the contract renewed in December 2010, which increased annual fees by 25 percent — had nothing to do with Ms. Berkley, whom he said he did not know well. The various staffing changes have significantly improved the transplant program’s performance in recent years, according to Mr. Brannman and federal officials.
Jessica Mackler, Ms. Berkley’s campaign manager, said the congresswoman had no conflict of interest when she intervened, because the money the hospital uses to pay her husband does not directly come from the federal government, and other members of the state’s Congressional delegation were involved in the effort to save the transplant program.
“There really is no issue here,” Ms. Mackler said.
But Mr. Reems, the former Medicare official, is not so sure, given Ms. Berkley’s record of interventions on kidney care issues.
“You never want questions being raised,” he said, “and that means you need to try to avoid any move that makes you seem anything less than an impartial public servant.”
At the annual conference of the Renal Physicians Association in Austin, Tex., in 2008, Dr. Lehrner showed a slide of a smiley-faced doctor with a screw being forced into his mouth, and then ticked off a list of steps the group could take to fight cost control efforts in Washington.
“We have been screwed by our policy makers for 20 years,” he told the crowd. “Only you can prevent the destruction of our profession.”
The doctors, he said, could donate money directly to members of Congress, volunteer on their campaigns, contribute to the political action committee that he had helped build at the Renal Physicians Association and travel to Washington to personally appeal to lawmakers, as he himself does.
Dr. Lehrner added one more option to the list. “Marry an elected official,” he said, evoking laughter.
He may have been joking, but Ms. Berkley, 60, who was first elected in 1998 — a year before she and Dr. Lehrner married — has been largely sympathetic to the doctors’ cause.
The Medicare system spends an estimated $27 billion a year, or about 6 percent of overall Medicare spending, to help some of the approximately 550,000 Americans who have so-called end-stage kidney disease. It is the only chronic disease in which the most severely ill patients get nearly free care, regardless of age.
But Congress and federal regulators, alarmed over the surging costs, have sought to control spending in recent years, provoking protests from Dr. Lehrner and the physicians’ association, as well as the drug companies and dialysis operators that dominate the industry.
When Dr. Lehrner assumed a series of leadership roles at the renal physicians group, Ms. Berkley’s agenda in Washington started to overlap with her husband’s. He became the single biggest contributor to the association’s political action committee, while also serving as its chairman. And she has received the largest share of its contributions, totaling $7,000 since 2007. Over all, kidney care doctors, companies and lobbyists have donated at least $140,000 to Ms. Berkley’s Congressional campaigns.
Dr. Lehrner’s flourishing practice now includes 21 doctors who work out of seven offices in the Las Vegas area, as well as 11 dialysis centers, 10 of them run in a joint venture, started in 2003, with DaVita. He is a paid national speaker for and has received research grants from Amgen, a major supplier of drugs to dialysis centers.
The activities of these interest groups are closely aligned at times.
In early February 2008, for example, Ms. Berkley received a series of campaign contributions, first $1,000 from Amgen, then $2,000 from Kidney Care Partners, a trade group backed by Amgen and DaVita, then $3,000 from DaVita, and then $1,000 from Dr. Lehrner’s group, the Renal Physicians.
The day that two of those checks were delivered, Ms. Berkley sent a letter to Representative Pete Stark, Democrat of California, then chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee with jurisdiction over Medicare, warning him to move carefully in considering changes in compensating doctors who provided dialysis treatments. Echoing concerns raised by the industry, the congresswoman said she worried that patient access to care could be affected.
“While I support initiatives to improve quality and efficiency in Medicare, I do not believe that these efficiencies should come at the cost of patient well being,” Ms. Berkley wrote, without mentioning her husband’s interest in the matter.
Regulators moved ahead with the new reimbursement system, although it was adjusted in a way that the dialysis and drug companies ultimately embraced. This year, after Medicaid threatened to cut 3.1 percent of the money for dialysis — to save an estimated $250 million annually — Ms. Berkley led an effort in the House to oppose the cut.
Less than a month later, the agency reversed its position, winning Ms. Berkley a personal thanks from industry leaders in press releases and new campaign donations.
“She is highly knowledgeable about this complicated and critical area of health care that impacts millions of Americans,” Skip Thurman, a DaVita spokesman said in a written statement, of the company’s donations — which have accelerated as Ms. Berkley runs for the Senate. “The kidney community’s support of her is entirely appropriate.”
Shelley Berkley faces formal ethics investigation
July 9, 2012
By Ed O’Keefe
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), photographed at the U.S. Capitol on June 5. (Bill Clark – CQ Roll Call
The House Ethics Committee has voted unanimously to launch a formal investigation into allegations that Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) used her position to benefit the financial interests of her husband — a blow to her candidacy in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate contests.
The ethics panel said Monday that it will probe “alleged communications and activities with or on behalf of entities in which Representative Berkley’s husband had a financial interest.”
News reports last fall detailed moves made by Berkley to sponsor legislation or influence federal regulators in ways that favored the business interests of her husband, Larry Lehrner, who operates dialysis centers in Nevada and has actively lobbied lawmakers to help kidney care providers
Berkley, 61, is a seven-term Las Vegas congresswoman and candidate in a closely watched Senate race against Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) that observers believe could be a pickup for Democrats.
In a statement, Berkley’s campaign manager, Jessica Mackler, said: “We are pleased with the committee’s decision to conduct a full and fair investigation, which will ensure all the facts are reviewed. We are confident that ultimately it will be clear that Congresswoman Berkley’s one and only concern was for the health and well being of Nevada’s patients.”
The campaign’s statement noted that Berkley worked with other members of the Nevada congressional delegation, including Heller, to save the dialysis centers that were assisting more than 200 Nevadans seeking kidney transplants. Campaign aides suggested that closing the transplant centers ultimately would have decreased the quality of local health-care services, increased Medicare costs and would have boosted Lehrner’s income because he would have needed to provide more care to patients.
But the ethics committee’s decision signals that it agreed with the conclusions of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which prepared a report on the allegations. Under House rules, the ethics panel isn’t required to release the OCE’s full report until the committee closes its investigation or the end of the current congressional session.
The ethics panel first announced in March that it planned to launch an initial inquiry into unspecified allegations against Berkley.
This is the first time the ethics panel has empaneled a formal investigative subcommittee based on an OCE report since October 2009, when it agreed to probe allegations against Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Laura Richardson (D-Calif). In recent years, the committee also has launched formal investigations against Rep. Charles E. Rangel (D-N.Y.).
Since its inception in 2008, the OCE has conducted 92 preliminary reviews of allegations against lawmakers. Of those, the OCE has referred 32 cases to the ethics committee for further review.
While campaigning in Iowa, President Obama announced today that his administration will be using taxpayer money to have the USDA “purchase as much as $170 million of pork, chicken, lamb and catfish in attempt to alleviate the burden put on U.S. farmers hurt by drought.” The President also urged Congress to pass a farm bill – something that has been stalled in the House of Representatives because of the battle to cut wasteful spending. While passing a farm bill is necessary, in recent times, the massive legislation has been used as a vehicle for special interests and corporations to smuggle millions of dollars in new spending through Congress undetected.
to Withdraw from August 15 Conference with Extremist Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
- Does the Southern Poverty Law Center endorse these MPAC policy positions?
- If not, why are you partnering with MPAC on August 15, 2012?
- If the Southern Poverty Law Center actually agrees with these MPAC positions , should your donors continue to support your activities with donations totaling over $36 million per year?
While many political observers and reporters in Florida consider, and often mislabel, Florida Senator Bill Nelson a centrist, that label is greatly at odds with his very liberal voting record and 98 percent support of Barack Obama. In fact, it is greatly at odds with a time long ago when Bill Nelson might more accurately have been labeled a centrist, way back in the late 70’s.
Consider that in 1979 and 1980, Bill Nelson supported President Jimmy Carter only 49% and 68% of the time, respectively. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Bill Nelson supported Obama 97%, 98% and 97% of the time, respectively. Bill Nelson is in no way a centrist, and he has become far too liberal for mainstream Floridians.
Aside from his support of the space program, Nelson has never really identified himself with a strong signature issue. In fact, a Florida magazine once labeled the Democrat an “empty suit.”
So with just over an eleven-week sprint to Election Day, the Bill Nelson of 2012 is in a significantly weaker position than the Bill Nelson of 2006. In 2006, Nelson’s average ballot score in over 30 polls through the mid-August that year was in the mid-50s.
In 2012, Nelson has been mired in the mid-40s in public polling. In fact, his numbers very recently have been falling into the low 40s, and for the first time this cycle, the most recent series of Real Clear Politics (RCP) averages of the polls has had Mack leading and now this race as close as a race can get at 43.8-43.6.
And as we all know, 2006 was one of the worst elections in the last two decades for Republicans; while it was a banner year for Democrats and a thus banner year for Bill Nelson. Overall, the election resulted in a sweeping victory for the Democratic Party, which captured from Republicans control of the US House of Representatives, the US Senate, and a majority of governorships and state legislatures.
Unlike the political and issue landscape of this election, Nelson focused on safe issues in 2006 portraying himself as a bipartisan centrist problem-solver. He obtained the endorsement of all 22 of Florida’s daily newspapers and as the election approached, polls showed Nelson ahead by 26 to 35 points. With a comfortable enough lead in the last weeks, he transferred about $16.5 million of his campaign funds to other Democratic candidates, and won the election with 60.4% of the vote.
The political landscape for 2012 is markedly different from 2006, as are the most important issues on voters’ minds and, much like 2010, it greatly favors the more fiscally-hawkish Republicans like Connie Mack than liberal, big-spending Obama rubber stamps like Bill Nelson.
A closer look at Nelson’s liberal voting record reveals clearly why.
In the slightly more than 10 years that Bill Nelson has been representing the state of Florida, the federal debt has gone from $5.7 trillion to nearly now $16 trillion. He’s voted to raise the debt ceiling 11 times. The annual federal deficit in his first year in 2001 was $127 billion. Last year it was $1.3 trillion – more than a 1000% increase! When Bill Nelson took office, there were over 310,000 unemployed Floridians. Today, that number is tripled.
It is very difficult for Bill Nelson to claim he is not part of the big spending addiction that inflicts liberal Democrats in the Senate. He has voted for 88,990 earmarks during his tenure worth a total of $178 billion! He has sponsored or co-sponsored legislation that, if it all were passed into law, would cost $1.45 trillion.
Remember that self-proclaimed bipartisan, centrist-problem-solver image he wore in his 2006 re-election campaign? In no way can he effectively project that image anymore; it doesn’t fit. Because he has voted with Barack Obama 98 percent of the time, and has voted for increasing taxes 143 times.
In addition to an abysmal fiscal record of supporting record spending, record deficits and record debt that has cost Florida desperately needed economic growth and jobs, and despite having warned President Obama that Obamacare was a raw deal for seniors in Florida, Nelson still caved to White House and his party leadership’s pressure to provide the 60th vote for its passage in the Senate.
All across Florida, the Nelson-supported Obamacare is literally killing jobs. In North Florida, small business owners have said that government-run healthcare is driving up their premiums. Meanwhile, small business owners in Jacksonville have said the taxes in ObamaCare could force them to sell their business. Additionally, in Melbourne, medical device companies have stated that the medical device tax is stifling innovation.
Notably, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated the healthcare law will kill 800,000 jobs nationwide.
The Nelson record is further littered with more liberal, big spending initiatives including the failed stimulus, bailouts, cap and trade, card check, and the DREAM Act. And he more recently voted against the pro-domestic energy, pro-jobs Keystone XL Pipeline legislation.
Nelson claimed after his stimulus vote that it would create or save 206,000 jobs. In fact, Florida ranked dead last in stimulus benefits per resident. Today versus when Nelson was sworn in in 2001, Florida construction jobs have dropped 33%, and Florida manufacturing jobs have been reduced by 35%.
Connie Mack is a solid alternative to Bill Nelson
In contrast, Connie Mack has a clear record and offers a great contrast to the ever-left-leaning Nelson. Mack is a vocal supporter of less federal spending and lower taxes, reducing debt and balancing the budget. He is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Additionally, he is an original co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget and has been one of the most outspoken opponents of federal bailouts.
He also has sponsored “The Mack Penny Plan,” a straight-forward, common-sense plan to balance the federal budget by: 1) cutting federal spending by one percent each year for six consecutive years; 2) setting an overall spending cap of 18 percent of GDP in 2018; and 3) reducing overall spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years.
In addition, Mack has a unique idea for what he calls a “Repeal Congress.” Each Congress sits for two years and he is proposing that the House and Senate utilize one whole Congress – for two full years – focusing nearly all legislating on repealing and reworking bad, broken and out-of-date laws currently on the books that do much more damage than good to the American people and our Constitution. Another common-sense conservative idea that is probably too plainly simple and smart to get the traction it deserves.
Mack also maintains a strong, consistent record of voting for pro-growth, pro-jobs legislation throughout his career in the House, legislation that rarely sees a vote these days in the Harry-Reid-Democrat-controlled Senate while they stack up high in a death pile on his desk in the Senate.
This Senate election in Florida is a very clear contrast and Bill Nelson is in serious trouble, as he should be. Conservatives and fiscal-minded independents should take a keen look at Connie Mack as the clear alternative to replacing the far too liberal Bill Nelson.
New Ad: Heller Fights for Lower Energy Costs
Introduced Legislation to Close Loopholes for Big Oil While Democrats’ Push for New National Energy Tax
(Las Vegas, NV) – Heller for Senate released a new ad today highlighting the stark contrast between Dean Heller’s record fighting for lower energy costs for Nevada families and businesses and Shelley Berkley’s efforts to raise energy prices. In the ad, Heller discusses legislation he introduced to close tax loopholes for oil companies and pass savings on to consumers, and his opposition to Democrats’ efforts to pass a new national energy tax. To view the ad, click here.
“Dean Heller voted against a national energy tax that seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley supported. He even wrote legislation to close loopholes for Big Oil, but why do Shelley Berkley and extreme environmental groups oppose it? Because Senator Heller would pass the savings to Nevadans already struggling to make ends meet rather than let the government keep it.
“The difference between Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley couldn’t be clearer. Dean Heller provides solutions to problems while Congresswoman keeps up her wild attacks and sides with Nancy Pelosi 90 percent of the time,” said Chandler Smith, Heller for Senate spokeswoman.
1) Claim: Congress tried to pass a new energy tax.
Documentation: “As President Obama’s health care proposal survives on life support, his
huge energy tax plan known as ‘cap and trade’ passes each day in the next hospital room,
breathing with the help of a respirator…the bill would put the United States at a
competitive disadvantage with countries such as India and China – and that it would lead to
huge increases in energy costs for American consumers.”
Citation: House Vote 477, H.R. 2454, June 26, 2009 (Berkley voted “yea”); “Editorial:
Massive energy Tax,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 15, 2009.
2) Claim: The new energy tax would force “higher prices at the pump.”
Documentation: A study conducted by Science Applications International Corporation
(SAIC) assessed “the impact of the Waxman-Markey Bill on manufacturing, jobs, energy
prices and our overall economy.” Key findings:
· Cumulative Loss in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to $3.1 trillion (2012-2030)
· Employment losses up to 2.4 million jobs in 2030
· Residential electricity price increases up to 50 percent by 2030
· Gasoline price increases (per gallon) up 26 percent by 2030
Citation: “State-by-State Analysis of Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Legislation Paints
Dour Picture for Nation’s Economy,” National Association of Manufacturers, August 12,
3) Claim: Heller voted against the national energy tax.
Citation: House Vote 477, H.R. 2454, June 26, 2009 (Heller voted “nay”)
4) Claim: Heller wrote the Gas Price Relief Act
Citation: S. Amdt. 1958, “Gas Price Relief Act,” Amends S. 2004. Introduced on March 27, 2012
5) Claim: The Gas Price Relief Act “eliminates tax loopholes for oil companies and passes those savings directly to you in lower taxes at the pump.”
Documentation: “Dean Heller files amendment that repeals tax breaks for oil
companies…Heller filed the Gas Price Relief Act as an amendment to the Democrats’ bill on
Tuesday, in which he proposed Congress repeal tax breaks enjoyed by the largest oil and
gas companies and put that money toward reducing the gas tax, the highway trust fund,
and paying for increased oil drilling and construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.”
Citation: Karoun Demirjian, “Dean Heller files amendment that repeals tax breaks for oil
companies,” Las Vegas Sun, March 28, 2012
Las Vegas Sun
Dean Heller files amendment that repeals tax breaks for oil companies
March 28, 2012
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller still probably won’t be voting for the Democrats’ Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act when the Senate votes on it later this week. But that didn’t stop him from pulling a sleight of hand Tuesday to claim the issue as his own.
Heller filed the Gas Price Relief Act as an amendment to the Democrats’ bill on Tuesday, in which he proposed Congress repeal tax breaks enjoyed by the largest oil and gas companies and put that money toward reducing the gas tax, the highway trust fund, and paying for increased oil drilling and construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Heller called the amendment “a compromise containing solutions to the issues we are facing today” and “a common-sense, all-of-the-above strategy to provide for the development of our domestic energy resources.”
But it’s also a turnaround for Heller, who has voted in the recent past to preserve those same oil and gas subsidies and has said that while he’s open to a discussion about closing the loopholes, he’s only willing to talk about that in the context of a larger tax code overhaul — which the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsides Act is not.
A spokesman for Heller dismissed the suggestion that filing the amendment at all contradicts his earlier positions, explaining that the expedited schedule is because “an overhaul of the tax code is not going to happen this year, nor is it going to help anyone with gas prices this year.”
Congress is likely to take up a tax code overhaul either in its post-election “lame duck” session at the end of 2012 or in early 2013. Many provisions of the tax code — including the lowered individual tax rates that have been in place since the early years of George W. Bush’s presidency — expire in late 2012.
Oil and gas subsidies, however, are very much a living campaign issue leading up to November.
Heller has come under constant fire for voting to preserve oil and gas subsidies from Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, his chief rival for the Senate.
Congresswoman Shelly Berkley is trying to draw a parallel between Sen. Dean Heller and Rush Limbaugh.
“If Dean Heller has the power to address high gas prices, why isn’t he?” the Berkley campaign challenged Heller just last month. “He’s more concerned with padding the pockets of Big Oil.”
Tuesday’s legislation would appear to be Heller’s answer.
Berkley has herself taken aim at oil and gas subsidies in many forms, most recently in the form of an energy bill in which she proposed repealing the subsidies and putting the money saved toward renewable energy tax incentives.
The bill up for consideration in the Senate — penned by New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez — is conceptually similar: It repeals oil and gas subsidies and puts the money toward renewable energy, alternative fuels and deficit reduction.
Heller’s bill, which is revenue-neutral, according to his office, does not put any money toward renewable energy projects. Heller has dismissed many of the renewable energy incentive programs Democrats are trying to renew as “failed stimulus” ventures — though Tuesday he took pains to clarify his wider position on renewable energy.
“Development of renewable energy is something I have long advocated for. … There is no doubt alternative sources of energy are our future,” Heller said “Today’s debate is about a bill that is merely two failed policies repackaged as a political stunt.”
He cited Nevada’s rising gas prices and its effect on the tourism industry, especially, as more important areas to focus on.
Heller has not said what, if anything, he plans to do with this legislation past this week. His amendment is not expected to get a vote as the Senate considers Menendez’s underlying legislation, but Heller’s office will not say whether he plans to push for it as a stand-alone bill.
Regardless, the existence of this legislation will now complicate what was, to this point, an easy and straightforward campaigning issue for his Democratic opponent.
She, however, does not seem keen on ceding any turf on the oil and gas issue to Heller — or change the general direction of her talking points.
“This week, Washington Republicans are showing Nevada families exactly who their priority is,” Berkley said in a floor speech Tuesday night. “Republicans are reiterating their support for taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil despite the fact that gas prices are soaring and the oil industry made $137 billion in profits last year. … Republicans, get your priorities straight.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal
EDITORIAL: Massive energy tax
August 15, 2009
As President Obama’s health care proposal survives on life support, his huge energy tax plan known as “cap and trade” passes each day in the next hospital room, breathing with the help of a respirator.
Finally, some Democrats in Congress are stepping back to question whether we need to rush through a bill that would completely disrupt the U.S. economy under the dubious premise that we must stop global warming or risk worldwide catastrophe.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed through a “cap and trade” bill in June, barely getting a majority. But the bill has met a cooler response in the Senate, which has yet to act.
Then, earlier this week, nine Democrat senators announced they’ll seek to impose carbon tariffs on certain imported goods in return for supporting cap and trade. That’s a tacit admission that the bill would put the United States at a competitive disadvantage with countries such as India and China – and that it would lead to huge increases in energy costs for American consumers.
And on Wednesday, a group of four more Democratic senators said Congress should abandon cap-and-trade legislation this year and focus instead on handing out more subsidies to renewable energy companies.
Neither protectionism through tariffs nor artificially forcing consumers to use more expensive solar or wind power will help the economy in the long run. Both are bad ideas. But the fact remains Senate Democrats are jumping ship on cap and trade because it is becoming obvious that the White House’s ambitious agenda is simply too costly to put in place
“With national unemployment tipping the scale at nearly 10 percent, experts are now referring to our present economy as the ‘Great Recession’,” notes Andrew Moylan of the National Taxpayers Union in Roll Call. “At a time when our nation’s leaders are desperately trying to find a way out of this quagmire, why would Congress consider a bill that would not only impose a national energy tax on every household and small business in the country, but also further restrict our domestic energy production?”
That even some Democrats are finally coming to realize that this massive expansion of the state envisioned by the president – through health care reform, energy policy and the rest – will overwhelm the average American is more reason for the Republicans to exhibit a united front against this breathtaking and dangerous agenda.
CQ FLOOR VOTES
HOUSE ROLL CALL VOTE 477
June 26, 2009
Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Passage
June 26, 2009 House Roll Call Vote 477 HR 2454
Passage of the bill that would create a cap-and-trade system for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and set new requirements for electric utilities. The EPA would be allowed to auction emission allowances to permit the buyer to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases. Under the bill, three-quarters of emission allowances would be provided to polluters free of charge, based on formulas, when the cap-and-trade program would begin in 2012. Remaining allowances would be sold at auction. By 2030, 75 percent of the allowances would be sold to polluters by EPA. The bill would limit emissions at 17 percent below current levels in 2020, 42 percent in 2030 and 83 percent in 2050. Companies such as electric utilities, refineries and factories could buy and sell pollution allowances and get credit for funding special projects to reduce emissions on farms and in forests. It would require utilities to produce 15 percent of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with another 5 percent energy savings from efficiency. States could petition to bring the renewable mandate down to 12 percent, with 8 percent from efficiency. It would set new emissions standards for coal-fired power plants, and new energy efficiency and water use standards for buildings and products. It would establish programs to assist energy consumers with higher utility bills as a result of the system. It also would create programs for electrical transmission lines, smart grid technologies, modernizing electricity infrastructure to respond to changing conditions, reduction of emissions, increased energy efficiency, and carbon capture and sequestration.
Passed by a vote of 219-212: Democrats, 211-44 (Berkley voted “yea”); Republicans, 8-168
Note: A “yea” was a vote in support of the president’s position.
State-by-State Analysis of Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Legislation Paints Dour Picture for Nation’s Economy
NAM-ACCF Study Concludes Bill Will Cost 2.4 Million Jobs
August 12, 2009
08/12/09 — WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) today unveiled a comprehensive study on the impact of The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey Bill (HR 2454). The bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to cap the amount of carbon that is emitted by U.S. industry. The legislation does so by mandating a cap and trade program and other provisions governing fuel choices available to businesses and consumers. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a slim margin (219-212) earlier this summer. The Senate is expected to release its version of climate legislation in September.
The study, which was commissioned by the NAM and ACCF and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) using NAM and ACCF input assumptions, assesses the impact of the Waxman-Markey Bill on manufacturing, jobs, energy prices and our overall economy. The NAM and ACCF released national data as well as the analysis for 15 industrial states that would be impacted greatly if this or similar legislation is signed into law. The full report, including the data covering the remaining 35 states will be released in the coming weeks.
Jay Timmons, executive vice president of the NAM said, “Climate change is a very complex issue and I hope Senators will look closely at this study as they consider climate change legislation this fall. At a time when our country is struggling to come out of our longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, lawmakers should be focused on policies that provide incentives for businesses so they can create jobs and grow. Unfortunately, this study confirms that the Waxman-Markey Bill is an ‘anti-jobs, anti-growth’ piece of legislation. Further, leaders of countries such as China and India have made it clear they have no intention of reducing their own emissions. Waxman-Markey would give an edge to overseas competitors, discouraging domestic investment and the creation of American jobs.”
The NAM/ACCF study accounts for all federal energy laws and regulations currently in effect. It accounts for increased access to oil and natural gas supplies, new and extended tax credits for renewable generation technologies, increased World Oil Price (WOP) profile, as well as permit allocations for industry and international offsets. Additionally, the provisions of the stimulus package passed in February are included in this study. Key findings include:[list type="arrow"] [li]
- Cumulative Loss in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to $3.1 trillion (2012-2030)
- Employment losses up to 2.4 million jobs in 2030
- Residential electricity price increases up to 50 percent by 2030
- Gasoline price increases (per gallon) up 26 percent by 2030
Dr. Margo Thorning, senior vice president and chief economist for ACCF, highlighted the importance of reviewing economic findings while debating the climate change legislation. “This data shows that we cannot divorce the environmental impacts from potential economic damages. Policymakers may have the best of intentions when it comes to the environment, but it’s crucial that we compare the economic cost to the legislation’s actual impact on global GHG reductions. Considering that developing countries such as China and India have publicly stated that they will not undertake similar emissions policies, there would be almost no global environmental benefits from the bill. Ultimately, this study shows that Waxman-Markey, would significantly decrease employment and increase energy prices at a time when we can least afford it.”
Further, this study shows industrial states would be disproportionately impacted by high energy prices, loss of jobs and income. The 15 states analyzed in the initial study include:
9. North Carolina
14. West Virginia
SAIC used a modified version of the National Energy Modeling System, NEMS/ACCF-NAM 2, and the NAM and ACCF input assumptions, to quantify the impact of the Waxman-Markey bill.
“Policymakers and the public must have a clear understanding of the potential impact of climate change legislation to assess whether it will cause more economic harm than environmental good,” concluded Timmons.
The national and 15 state-by-state economic impacts can be found by visiting: http://www.accf.org/publications/126/accf-nam-study
For additional information or to schedule and interview, please contact Laura Narvaiz for the NAM at (202) 637- 3104 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mike Burita for ACCF at (202) 420-9361 or MBurita@accf.org.
About the NAM
The National Association of Manufacturers (www.nam.org) is the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NAM has 11 additional offices across the country.
The American Council for Capital Formation (www.accf.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the advocacy of tax and environmental policies that encourage saving and investment. The ACCF was founded in 1973 and is supported by the voluntary contributions of corporations, associations, foundations, and individuals.
NRSC Statement On Berkley’s Medi-Scare Event In Pahrump
This week, embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley tweeted that she would meet with Nevadans in Pahrump to discuss Medicare, yet she won’t allow anyone to videotape the event.
Probably because Berkley voted for ObamaCare and after two years she still can’t explain – or defend – why the Democrats raided Medicare by over $700 billion in order to pay for their job-killing healthcare law. In fact, just this weekend, the President’s own campaign manager admitted on Face the Nation that they did impose massive cuts to Medicare in their health care bill.
Notably, during the healthcare debate, President Obama told ABC News that he would veto any attempts to restore these cuts to Medicare.
If you are reporting on this news then please consider the following statement from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):
- “It’s clear embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley can’t run on her record so she’s resorting to scaring seniors in the Silver State. The reality is that rather than protecting entitlements for seniors, Shelley Berkley partnered with Nancy Pelosi to raid Medicare in order to pay for bigger government and more reckless Washington spending.” – Jahan Wilcox, NRSC Spokesman
OBAMA IS PROUD OF CUTTING MEDICARE TO FUND OBAMACARE AND VOWED TO VETO ANY ATTEMPTS TO REPEAL THE CUTS
President Obama Told ABC’s Jake Tapper That One-Third Of ObamaCare’s Funding Comes From Medicare Cuts And He Would Veto Any Attempt To Repeal Them. ABC’s JAKE TAPPER: “One of the concerns about health care and how you pay for it — one third of the funding comes from cuts to Medicare.” BARACK OBAMA: “Right.” TAPPER: “A lot of times, as you know, what happens in Congress is somebody will do something bold and then Congress, close to election season, will undo it.” OBAMA: “Right.” TAPPER: “You saw that with the ‘doc fix’.” OBAMA: “Right.” TAPPER: “Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?” OBAMA: “Yes. I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks. I said I wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t meet that criteria.” (ABC News, 11/9/09)
Congressional Budget Office: ObamaCare Includes $741 Billion In Cuts To Medicare. (Douglas Elmendorf, Letter To Speaker John Boehner, Congressional Budget Office, 7/24/12)
Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter Bragged About ObamaCare’s Cuts To Medicare. CUTTER: “Well, you know ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more. Cut waste from the government. Reform Medicare. More than $300 billion in savings from Medicare. On top of the savings we’ve already achieved. You know I heard Mitt Romney deride the $700 billion cuts in Medicare that the president achieved through health care reform.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 8/12/12)
The Reality Is That Obama-Berkley’s Reckless Medicare Cuts Are “Unrealistic” And Make Needed Reforms Harder
Medicare Chief Actuary Says ObamaCare’s Cuts To Medicare Are “Unrealistic” And Unsustainable. “Richard Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare, testified before the House Budget Committee said that the cuts to medical providers set by President Obama’s national health care law were unrealistic. ‘It’s pretty hard to imagine they could be sustainable,’ Foster said, under questioning from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.” (Philip Klein, “Medicare’s Chief Actuary Says ObamaCare’s Cuts To The Program Likely Unsustainable,” The Washington Examiner’s ” Beltway Confidential,” 7/13/11)
Obama Cut Medicare To Fund His New Health Care Entitlement Program, Which Will Leave “Fewer Options Available” When Medicare Crisis Hits. “‘We did it for a good cause, which was the expansion of coverage,’ said [economist and former Medicare trustee John] Palmer. ‘But down the road, when further steps have to be taken to close the Medicare deficit, then we will have fewer options available because we’ve already done some of the easier things.’” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “FACT CHECK: Can Overhaul Save Medicare?” The Associated Press, 5/1/10)
- “ [M]ake No Mistake — Closing Medicare’s Future Funding Gap Will Be Harder Now That Some Of The Easier Sources Of Savings Have Been Tapped To Finance The Health Care Bill.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “FACT CHECK: Can Overhaul Save Medicare?”The Associated Press, 5/1/10)
Obama-Berkley’s Medicare Cuts Are Forcing Private Physicians To “Run For Cover”
ObamaCare Is Forcing Private Practice Physicians To “Run For Cover.” “The health-care reform law is accelerating a shift away from private practices as doctors, fearful of new costs and regulations, ‘run for cover’ under the protection of large hospitals.” (J.D. Harrison, “Health Care Law Driving Doctors Away From Small Practices, Toward Hospital Employment,” The Washington Post, 7/19/12)
ObamaCare’s Medicare Cuts Are Forcing Private Physicians To Turn Away New Patients. “Doctors on the panel also warned that PPACA’s $500 billion cut to Medicare could translate into even less reimbursement for those who care for patients insured by the government. Already, many physicians are turning away new patients because they’re taking a loss or barely breaking even when working with Medicare.” (J.D. Harrison, “Health Care Law Driving Doctors Away From Small Practices, Toward Hospital Employment,” The Washington Post, 7/19/12)
- Small Practice Physicians Are Closing Their Offices And Moving To Large Hospitals Due To More Regulations And Higher Costs. “During a hearing before the House Small Business Committee on Thursday, health-care professionals explained that the shift has already been picking up momentum in recent years, driven largely by growing regulatory and administrative burdens, rising malpractice costs and declining reimbursements from insurers – all of which they say have hit small practices especially hard. Consequently, doctors are shying away from the traditional solo practitioner model in favor of employment at large hospitals, which amid constant industry changes, can provide more financial security and take responsibility for keeping up with new regulations.” (J.D. Harrison, “Health Care Law Driving Doctors Away From Small Practices, Toward Hospital Employment,” The Washington Post, 7/19/12)