Dean Heller Has Taken Leadership Role to Secure Safety Net for Struggling Nevadans
(Las Vegas, NV) – Today Shelley Berkley and her Washington allies doubled-down in yet another act of desperation, this time preying on the concerns of Nevadans struggling to make ends meet. The truth is Dean Heller has a lengthy record protecting the social safety net for those who need it most, and has even supported the same legislation as his opponent.
“In a day where Shelley Berkley has doubled-down in desperation, Shelley Berkley is now pointing fingers and trying to create divisions when actually both candidates agree that a safety net is important for unemployed Nevadans. With nearly 164,000 Nevadans unemployed right now, is that really the best thing to do for Nevada? Come on, Congresswoman. Twisting words and attacks are not going to create jobs Nevadans desperately need,” said Chandler Smith, Heller for Senate spokeswoman.
Fact: Dean Heller never called unemployed individuals hobos. Then-Congressman Heller was referring to a presentation made by Lawrence B. Lindsey, former Director of the National Economic Council at the White House, before the Republican Members of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Fact: Dean Heller has consistently supported efforts to extend unemployment insurance. (H.R. 2642 6/3/2008; H.R. 6867 11/21/2008; H.R. 3548 11/6/2009; H.R. 3326 12/16/2009; H.R. 4851 4/15/2010; H.R. 5618 6/29/2010; H.R. 5418 7/1/2010; H.R. 4213 7/22/2010; H.R. 3630 2/17/2012)
Fact: In May 2010, Dean Heller introduced legislation to extend unemployment benefits (H.R. 5453).
Fact: In July 2010, Dean Heller introduced legislation to extend unemployment benefits, and pay for the benefits with unused stimulus funds. (H.R. 5647).
Fact: In July 2010, Las Vegas Review Journal’s Steve Sebelius praised Dean Heller, saying he “crossed party lines on Thursday to vote for an extension of unemployment benefits for more than 1 million people in America, including thousands here in Nevada,” after Heller’s own legislation to extend benefits was unsuccessful.
- “Heller faced a choice: Stick unwaveringly to principle, and allow suffering people to be hurt even more, or compromise, and vote for the bill notwithstanding the fact that it will add to the deficit. He chose the latter….In other words, Heller did what was right for his constituents, and for the unemployed people in the rest of America, too. He didn’t abandon his principals — he fought for them right to the end…But when his fight was lost, Heller did the right thing anyway. For that, he deserves a great deal of credit. (Steve Sebelius, “In Praise of Dean Heller,” Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fact: In November 2010, Heller was one of 21 Republicans who supported legislation to extend unemployment benefits for an additional three months (H.R. 6419): “Heller was one of 21 Republicans who joined with Democrats in favor of the measure, which fell short of the two-thirds needed for passage.” (“Heller Supports Extension of Unemployment Benefits, Nevada News Bureau, November 18, 2010)
Fact: On November 17, 2011, Dean Heller introduced the Responsible Unemployment Extension Act to extend unemployment benefits for an additional year without adding to the federal deficit (S. 1885).
Fact: In December 2011, when Washington D.C. was gridlocked over the federal budget, Dean Heller was one of few Senators to push Republican colleagues on a payroll tax cut extension and extending unemployment benefits:
- “Dean Heller to House GOP: Pass the payroll tax cut extension: Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada today scolded his fellow Republicans in the House for refusing to support a bipartisan package to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance, saying while he agreed with them in principle, playing politics with such an important issue was unacceptable.” (Karoun Demirjian, “Dean Heller to House GOP: Pass the payroll tax cut extension,” Las Vegas Sun, December 19, 2011)
- “Obama, Boehner square off in payroll tax fight: Meanwhile, five mostly moderate Republican senators have called for the House to support the Senate’s two-month extension. The group consists of Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana and Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. (Tom and Alan Silverleib, “Obama, Boehner square off in payroll tax fight,” December 21, 2011)
Fact: On January 9, 2012, Dean Heller sent a letter to the payroll tax conferees, urging them to make the difficult decision that will preserve the social safety net. In the letter, Dean Heller stated:
- “While job creation must be our continuing goal and focus, we must recognize that progress on this front is slow. Times are tough for Americans…. For this reason, I urge you to fully extend current federal unemployment programs for at least one year in states like Nevada that suffer from high unemployment.”
Fact: He also urged conferees to extend the payroll tax cut and ensure solvency of Medicare:
- “Furthermore, I would also encourage you to include a yearlong extension of the temporary payroll tax holiday in your compromise legislation. The payroll tax holiday has helped lower taxes for millions of Americans and has put more in the pockets of the average working family. I respectfully request that the Conference Committee strongly consider my legislation, S. 1931, which would extend the payroll tax holiday while also protecting Social Security.”
- As well as “include a long-term update to the Medicare reimbursement schedule in your bill. Unstable reimbursement in Medicare threatens seniors’ access to medical care throughout our nation.” (“Heller to Conference Committee: Bipartisan, Long-term Solutions Needed for Unemployment Insurance,” Payroll Tax Cut, “Doc Fix,” www.heller.senate.gov, January 9, 2012)