Posts Tagged ‘House’

GOP Members Of Congress Ask Governors To Reject Health Exchanges, Nevada Program Already Well Under Way

By Sean Whaley | 12:30 pm July 10th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A letter from 12 U.S. Senators and 61 members of the House to the nation’s governors asking them to oppose the creation of health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act comes too late to have any effect in Nevada.

No members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation signed the letter, which says in part: “These expensive, complex, and intrusive exchanges impose a threat to the financial stability of our already-fragile state economies with no certainty of a limit to total enrollment numbers. By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation which will help lower the costs of doing business in your state, relative to other states that keep these financially draining exchanges in place.”

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota are the first names on the letter signed only by Republicans and dated June 29.

The GOP-controlled House is set to vote this week on whether to repeal the law, but the Democratic-controlled Senate is not expected to consider such a measure.

Gov. Brian Sandoval.

GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval moved forward in the first days he took office in January 2011 to implement the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, despite his concerns about the constitutionality of the law. The U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled most of the law constitutional. Nevada was one of 26 states to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

Sandoval announced his intentions in his 2011 State of the State address: “I firmly believe that many aspects of the law are unconstitutional, and I will continue to fight to have them overturned. In the meantime, however, the law imposes many deadlines, and we cannot wait until litigation is resolved. We must also plan for a Health Insurance Exchange so that we – and not the federal government – control the program.”

A health care exchange is basically a one-stop shop for purchasing health insurance.

Several governors have said they won’t create their own health exchanges, among them Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Among the states that have not moved forward to create an exchange include Louisiana, Florida, Nebraska, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

But Nevada’s program is well along and will have a state based Exchange operational by Oct. 1, 2013. To date the Exchange has been awarded approximately $24.7 million in federal grants to pay for its establishment and implementation.

“Nevada was prudent to begin implementation over a year and a half ago rather than wait and risk federal intervention,” said Jon Hager, executive director of the Exchange, in a recent news release. “Thanks to advanced planning and foresight, Nevada is positioned to implement a state based health insurance exchange that is built with the needs of Nevadans in mind.”

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates approximately 21.3 percent of Nevadans, or 563,000 people, are uninsured. The Exchange’s mission is to increase the number of insured Nevadans by facilitating the purchase and sale of health insurance that provides quality health care through the creation of a transparent, simplified marketplace of qualified health plans.

Nevada’s exchange was created by Senate Bill 440 of the 2011 Legislature. It was passed unanimously of those voting in both the Senate and Assembly at the end of the session. Four members of the Assembly were excused and did not vote.

Rove Predicts GOP Control Of Congress In 2012 General Election, Says Presidential Race Outcome Uncertain

By Sean Whaley | 1:56 pm February 2nd, 2012

RENO – Former Sparks resident and George W. Bush presidential adviser Karl Rove predicted today the both houses of Congress will go Republican in the November general election, but said the presidential election is up in the air even with President Barack Obama’s low approval ratings.

Rove, speaking at the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce event Directions 2012, predicted that the U.S. Senate will see Republican control with a minimum of 52 seats, but possibly as many as 54.

Karl Rove, former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, speaks at a Reno chamber event today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Republicans could lose a handful of House seats but will maintain control, he said.

No president has won re-election with poll numbers as low as President Obama has now, but he is a tough competitor with $1 billion to spend, Rove said.

“It’s going to be difficult,” he said, predicting that the U.S. will see “the nastiest, ugliest general election campaign we’ve seen in our lifetime.”

The Obama campaign team will put the Republican candidate on trial and prosecute tough and hard, and with $1 billion in the bank, as often as they can, Rove said.

Winning 51 Senate seats is important if Republicans win the White House as well, because it will mean the immediate repeal of the federal health care law, he said. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in the Senate using a process called reconciliation, which requires only 51 votes to reverse, Rove said.

In his comments to several hundred attendees at the event, Rove noted that the federal Health Care Law is the only major piece of social legislation since polling began in the 1930s that is less popular after it was passed.

“Why?” Rove asked. “Because every single promise made about it is turning out not to be true.”

He declined to pick a winner of the Republican presidential nomination, although he said, Mitt “Romney looks like he could be the guy.”

“You have a big role to play in that,” Rove said of Nevada GOP voters.

Nevada’s Republican presidential caucus, the first in the west, is Saturday. The four remaining contenders for the nomination are visiting Nevada to make their case with GOP voters. Romney is the favorite to win.

Rove, who lived in Sparks from age 9 to 15, served as senior adviser to Bush from 2000 to 2007 and deputy chief of staff from 2004 to 2007. At the White House, he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs and was deputy chief of staff for policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.

Before Rove became known as “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, non-partisan causes and non-profit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional, and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states. He writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

Nevada Delegation Split on Latest Payroll Tax Cut Bill

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:08 pm December 19th, 2011

Nevada’s congressional delegation is currently split 3-2 on the latest bill temporarily extending the payroll tax cuts.

Rep. Shelley Berkley favors the measure passed by the U.S. Senate (by an 89-10 vote Saturday) and supported by Sen.s Harry Reid and Dean Heller.

However, both Rep.s Joe Heck and Mark Amodei say they oppose the two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts on the basis that it is too short-term.

House Speaker John Boehner this morning said Republicans will most likely vote down the measure, objecting to the temporary fix and saying he favors the year-long extension approved last week. He now wants to establish a conference committee to negotiate a different deal.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement earlier today that he is not going to call the Senate back into session:

“My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in 10 days, 160 million middle-class Americans will see a tax increase, over 2 million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians.”

Sen. Heller said there was “no question” that the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance benefits should be extended for one year, but that there was “no reason to hold up the short-term extension” while a longer-term deal is worked out.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, Heller’s Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race, also spoke in support of the short-term Senate measure on the House floor today, saying the hold-up is “thanks to the Tea Party extremists in the House of Representatives.”

But Rep. Joe Heck this afternoon put out a video statement explaining his strong opposition to the two-month measure, part of which is based on his objection to returning to this same debate in February.

Rep. Mark Amodei, the newest member of Nevada’s congressional delegation, also put out a statement saying, in part:

“To enact a 60-day extension of these important programs instead of a year, which would give doctors, patients, seniors, taxpayers and those looking for predictability and stability in their personal lives and jobs, is a can-kick of Olympic proportions. I have yet to hear of a reason for 60 days instead of 12 months. Conclusions for political sport are all that I see so far.”

If House Republicans do not pass the measure and the Senate does not return to Washington D.C. to negotiate a new bill, the payroll tax cuts will expire on Dec. 31.

 

 

District Court Judge Issues Special House Election Decision, Calls Secretary of State’s Ruling “Unreasonable” and “Absurd”

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:39 pm May 23rd, 2011

In a decision that surprised many — including the Nevada Democratic Party — a district judge last Thursday overruled Secretary of State Ross Miller’s decision to permit any qualified candidate to run in a “free-for-all” in the U.S. House race to fill Dean Heller’s recently vacated seat.

According to Miller’s interpretation of the law, “qualified” would have meant collecting 100 signatures and filing (fee free) for candidacy. However, Judge James Todd Russell last week enjoined Miller from moving ahead with ballot preparation and gave the political parties until June 30 to nominate a candidate.

Russell’s written decision, issued today, called the Nevada statutes “ambiguous” and said the GOP “would suffer irreparable harm” in a free-for-all election. The decision also said Miller relied on “a single sentence” in special election law and produced “an unreasonable and absurd result” which results in “unfair treatment.”

Russell said on Friday he based his decision on the reading of two Nevada statutes that govern special and regular elections. He said they were confusing when taken as a whole and added that the Legislature should clarify the law in order to avoid future conflicts.

The 2003 special election law (passed after 9/11 to address sudden House vacancies) says there should be no primary election, but that candidates must be nominated before filing a declaration of candidacy. However, a separate statute says the major and minor parties’ central or executive committees should nominate candidates whenever a vacancy exists.

In his comments in open court Friday, Russell said the secretary of state was “picking and choosing” portions of the law when he made his decision to allow what Miller called a “ballot royale.” Russell also said it seemed unfair to have different rules for major and minor parties (the secretary of state had said minor parties could nominate only one candidate each).

Democratic attorneys argued that Miller has the authority to set election rules and that he should be given the latitude to interpret statutes.

An appeal by Miller is expected to be filed with the Nevada Supreme Court.

The decision virtually guarantees the GOP will hold the 2nd Congressional District because it prevents a crowded Republican field and subsequent splintered vote, which would have benefitted a strong Democratic candidate (hello, Kate Marshall).

Interestingly enough, Dean Heller, whose empty House seat is now at the center of the controversy, was the Secretary of State when the 2003 legislation was passed. He should have set the rules for a special election but because he never did so, Nevada finds itself headed for a state supreme court hearing.

The GOP central committee meeting and election is currently scheduled for June 18 in Sparks, NV.

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei has yet to step down from his post, though he announced his candidacy and is a contender for the party’s nomination.

State Senator and former U.S. attorney for Nevada Greg Brower is Amodei’s primary competition for the GOP central committee vote. Brower has been active and aggressive in recent days with the launch of his campaign website along with email and social media messages to the Republican base and central committee members.

Several Democrats are expected to compete for the nomination to fill the House vacancy including State Treasurer Kate Marshall, Nancy Price and Jill Derby.

Here is the District Court’s decision, issued Thursday from the bench. It is only 12 pages and is fairly straightforward:

Russell_decision_5.23.11

 

Tea Party Express is Back on the Job in Nevada

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:47 pm April 24th, 2011

They’re BAAAACK…

Yes, Dear Readers, the Tea Party Express (TPX) is once again attempting to influence Nevada state politics in ways some say make little pragmatic sense and even (I would wager) contradicts what some folks on their Nevada mailing list are hoping happens in the coming weeks.

Exhibit One, a recent TPX missive suggesting that Governor Sandoval should appoint a placeholder (rather than Rep. Dean Heller) to John Ensign’s soon-to-be vacated Senate seat:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2011
CONTACT: Levi Russell at Levi@FrontlineStrat.com or (509) 979-6615

TEA PARTY EXPRESS CALLS FOR CONSERVATIVE ‘PLACEHOLDER’

Grassroots group asks Governor to avoid forcing a Special Election

The Tea Party Express (www.TeaPartyExpress.org) today called on Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to appoint a distinguished Nevadan as an interim appointment to the vacant U.S. Senate seat so voters can have an unbiased final say in the elections of 2012.

Under Nevada law the Governor must appoint a successor to replace Senator John Ensign, who announced his resignation from the U.S. Senate as of May 2nd.  Speculation is that Sandoval is interested in appointing Congressman Dean Heller to the vacant Senate seat.

Such an appointment would create a House vacancy at an inopportune time as the Congress is addressing the serious debt and excessive spending of the federal government.  In addition, because Nevada has not had experience with Special Elections, it is an uncertain process to select a replacement to Heller.

Since historically around the country, appointed U.S. Senators have fared poorly in efforts to get re-elected in their own right, it makes more sense for the Governor to appoint a conservative Nevadan to fill out the remaining term of Senator Ensign, rather than put an appointed Senator in great jeopardy of not winning re-election in 2012.

The Tea Party Express suggests that distinguished Nevadans such as former Governor Bob List and former Treasurer Bob Seale would make outstanding interim appointments.  They could serve with great distinction for the next two years, and Nevada would be continuously represented in the House and Senate without the disruption of a Special Election.

Some have suggested the law be interpreted or changed so that political party caucuses would be used to select nominees.  We are opposed to any process that favors political insiders over the views and interests of the conservative voters of the state.

For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact Levi Russell at Levi@FrontlineStrat.com or (509) 979-6615

Huh…?

I hate to rain on anyone’s Tea Party Parade, but many TPX contentions regarding the possible outcomes of a party-chosen vs. primary-elected candidate are highly questionable. Where to begin…

First, assuming Governor Sandoval appoints Dean Heller to the Senate, Nevada special election rules dictate that he will then set a special election date (to occur within six months) for the open House seat. Once that date is chosen, there will be either a “free for all” primary election for all parties, or — as TPX points out — the parties will nominate candidates according to party rules (generally: via a vote of each party’s caucus or central committee). Whichever way it goes, the rules will be the same for all parties.

We do not yet know which scenario it will be, because Nevada law is a bit vague and in any case may be overridden by a federal statute. Secretary of State Ross Miller will issue an opinion on the law as soon as the governor announces his appointment, and we’ll go from there.

Second, the claim that the NV GOP caucus is made up of “political insiders” not only reveals typical TPX animosity toward all party structures, but also illustrates their (apparent) ignorance of the Republican ground game in Nevada. The executive board of the Clark County Republican Party, which accounts for a large percentage of the state’s GOP caucus (because 70% of the state lives in Clark), was last year taken over by Tea Party and Ron Paul types who are anything but party “insiders” and members of the good ol’ boy establishment. Naturally there are still some insiders on the inside, but they do not by any means run the GOP show.

What was left unsaid in the TXP presser is this:

If a GOP central committee caucus vote decides who the Republican candidate will be, their darling, Sharron Angle, probably does not stand much chance to be the chosen one. Sad for them — especially in light of the $500,000 they threw into her primary campaign last year — but the fact is, tea partiers and old-schoolers alike are concerned Angle could lose to a likable moderate or conservative Democrat. Whether fans of Angle or not — the base is divided on the Angle question, and her negatives with the base are high — many Republicans say they are just not prepared to risk a loss.

At this point, many Republicans say they believe state party chairman and former state Senator Mark Amodei, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, or pretty much any other GOP candidate has a better shot to win a general election than Angle. They know Heller’s district is by no means assured to the Republicans, and they want to nominate the most conservative candidate with the best shot at holding the seat.

Second, regarding the incumbency advantage or disadvantage for Heller, there is an argument to be made either way…but Heller probably stands to lose little and gain much by already being in the Senate when he runs for the seat next year. Such as: more statewide name recognition (which he very much needs in Clark County), use of Senatorial stationery and the NRSC’s statewide mailing lists, and some sensible Senate votes to point out to Nevada’s voters when campaign season is in full swing next summer. It is foolish to claim with any confidence that Heller, if appointed to the Senate, has less of a chance at reelection than otherwise.

Third, re: redistricting, it will not in any way be decided by the outcome of the special election, but by the inner workings of the Nevada Legislature and possible the courts. Redistricting depends on numerous factors including:

– various negotiations re: the state budget (the two should not be related, but they are)

– the gumption of the governor re: vetoing Democrat-drawn redistricting maps (Sandoval so far seems unafraid to use his veto stamp, and he has stated he’ll veto as many maps as it takes to get a fair final version)

– potential compromise-driven crossover votes from either moderate Democrats or Republicans in the Nevada senate (possible), and

– whether or not the matter ends up in court, which it very well may.

In any case, there is little (if any) doubt that Governor Sandoval is going to appoint Dean Heller to the Senate…so TPX is likely wasting its energy seeking a different outcome.

Rep. Heller Says Geothermal Royalties To Local Counties Restored In House Funding Bill

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 5:06 pm December 8th, 2010

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said today that the House has reinstated geothermal royalties to local counties in its funding bill.

Heller worked with House appropriators to ensure revenues will continue to be distributed to local governments.

“I have fought hard to ensure geothermal revenues are reinstated and thank my House colleagues for recognizing the importance of this funding to Nevada,” he said. “Western states lose substantial taxes and revenue opportunities because of the vast amount of federal lands.

“Ensuring these royalties will continue to be distributed is critical to our local communities and state. I call on Sens. (Harry) Reid and (John) Ensign to ensure the royalty fix is not removed in the Senate,” Heller said.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) determined that under the Continuing Resolution, the current government funding measure, counties are ineligible for geothermal revenue sharing payments for this fiscal year.

The language in the House funding bill would fix the problem and ensure the royalties continue to be paid to local governments. The funding bill passed the House in a vote today.

The royalties were established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

NRCC’s New “Code Red” Red Meat Press Campaign

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:38 am March 22nd, 2010

On the heels of Titus’ F2F interview (see my previous blog post) and the passage of #hcr (that’s the Twitter hashtag for Health Care Reform)(are you on Twitter yet?!) this red meat press release from the NRCC:

CODE RED — ALERTING AMERICA TO THE DEMOCRATS’ TAKEOVER OF HEALTH CARE

March 21, 2010 (202) 479-7070

Dina Titus Rubber-Stamps Trillion-Dollar Government Takeover of Healthcare

Dismissing Public Opinion, Loyal Lapdog Puts Pelosi First, Voters Second

Washington – Despite a myriad of polls showing that a vote in favor of a government takeover of healthcare would be directly at odds with the interests and values of her constituents, Dina Titus, instead chose to stand with President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Titus’ decision to back a bill that fails to lower the cost of healthcare, will likely come at a steep political cost in November. Not only did Titus rubber-stamp hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes, Medicare cuts, runaway spending and unprecedented government control, her support for this toxic bill will negatively impact small businesses that are struggling to hire in the midst of a tough economic climate.

Over the past several weeks, the American people have witnessed first-hand, a process fraught with corruption and backroom deal-cutting that enticed Members of Congress into voting for this bill who would have otherwise voted in the interests of their constituents. By voting for this bill, Titus signed off on every shady backroom deal that the White House and Democrat leaders offered in exchange for votes, including the Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, and Florida Gator-aid.

Despite the millions of Americans that have repeatedly rejected the Democrats’ unpopular healthcare agenda, Titus and her Democrat colleagues rammed their bill through Congress anyway.

“As Americans wait for Congress to act on health care, a Fox News poll released Thursday finds 55 percent oppose the reforms being considered, while 35 percent favor them.” (Dana Blanton, “Fox News Poll: 55% Oppose Health Care Reform,” FOXNews, 3/19/10)

“Despite repeated and intense sales efforts by the president and his allies in Congress, most Americans consistently oppose the plan that has become the centerpiece of this legislative season.

“In 15 consecutive Rasmussen Reports polls conducted over the past four months, the percentage of Americans that oppose the plan has stayed between 52% and 58%.” (Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen, “Why Obama Can’t Move the Health-Care Numbers,” Wall Street Journal, 3/09/2010)

“By ignoring the overwhelming majority of her constituents, and voting in favor of Nancy Pelosi’s government takeover of healthcare, Dina Titus has fueled a level of anger and frustration within the constituency she claims to represent,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “Voting for hundreds of billions of dollars in spending, tax hikes, Medicare cuts, and unprecedented government control over our healthcare system is not reform, and Dina Titus knows it. By putting the interests and values of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the needs of Nevada voters, Titus has put her political career in great jeopardy.”

Is this the end for Titus?

“…60 percent say that they are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes this bill and wants to start over, while just 32 percent are more likely to vote against a candidate who takes this position. This suggests clearly that a “yes” vote is problematic. A detailed look at the research shows that representatives who change their vote from opposing it last November to supporting it now will probably be committing political hara-kiri.” (Douglas E. Schoen, “The handwriting on the wall,” Politico, 3/16/2010)

Judging from the numbers, Dina Titus just isn’t listening. If she can’t hear the message voters are sending her now, she’ll likely hear it on Election Day.

We shall see!

Heller Amending Not Going Too Well

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:22 pm March 17th, 2010

Another in a string of “Well, I tried…” press releases from Dean Heller re: attempted amendments to House bills:

Heller Offers Homebuyers Amendment in Committee

(Washington, DC) – Today U.S. Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment in the House Ways and Means Committee on H.R. 4849, the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010. Heller’s amendment failed by vote of 15 to 22.

“No state has been hit harder by the housing crisis than Nevada. The problem is one of supply and demand – simply too much housing inventory is available in many struggling areas, causing deep depression in prices. The first-time homebuyer tax credit has been helpful in reducing the supply of homes, but more needs to be done. I am deeply disappointed that the majority party chose to ignore this very serious problem,” said Heller.

The Heller amendment would allow capital gains exclusion of up to $50,000 ($100,000 for joint filers) for non-primary residences that are purchased in one of the top 200 high foreclosure areas within one year of the bill’s enactment and are held for two years.

Heller Signs On Early, Now House GOP Passes Moratorium on Earmarks

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:11 am March 11th, 2010

Speaking of Congressman Heller, he sent out the following press release this morning just as news was breaking that the House GOP caucus this morning passed (by voice vote) a moratorium on earmarks including those that are tax and tariff-related:

For Immediate Release:  Contact: Stewart Bybee

Date: March 11, 2010 (202) 225-6155

Heller Champions Rules to Eliminate Earmarks

(Washington, DC)- Today the House Republican Conference adopted rules to eliminate earmark requests among Republicans for this fiscal year. Heller signed the original petition to bring the rule change to a vote.

“Nearly two years ago the American public was promised change in Washington, but all they have received are record deficits and massive growth in the federal government. While Nevada families struggle to make ends meet, the federal government gets more expensive and our ever increasing debt gets passed on to our children and grandchildren. This type of governance must end. Eliminating earmarks is not a silver bullet, nor will it erase our debt over night, but it is a step in the right direction. Members of Congress must lead by example and make tough decisions to bring fiscal sanity and accountability back to Washington,” said Heller.

Congressman Heller as one of the first members to sign Congressman Jeff Flake’s (AZ) petition to House Republican Leadership requesting to vote on a conference-wide moratorium on earmark requests for this fiscal year.

My two cents:

I think I agree with something Erick Erickson said yesterday:  “I used to think arguments against earmarks were overrated and that [reformers] should be focusing on entitlements, but the last couple of years have convinced me that earmarks are the gateway drug to all the others.”  He cited the earmarks in the health care bill which essentially bribed some legislators into voting for new entitlements rather than forcing them to vote on the merits.

It’s been suggested that one way to do reform re: earmarks is to make them stand-alone measures that are voted on one at a time rather than piggybacked onto unrelated bills or bundled together.  But we won’t hold our breath for Congress to do it.  Everyone hates the other guy’s earmarks, but nobody wants to lose the ability to push through their own.

What Does Jim Gibbons’ Latest Ad Have In Common With Credit.com?

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:44 pm February 4th, 2010

That was the Tweet from @DullardMush a few minutes ago.

Click here to see what he means.

Ha Ha!!

Heller Objects to Debt Limit Increase on House Floor, Bill Narrowly Passes

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:43 pm December 16th, 2009

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Dean Heller today led the opposition on increasing the national statutory debt limit by nearly $300 billion (H.R. 4314).

“Here we are again. Christmas is a week away and Congress is scrambling at the last minute just so we can go home,” said Heller.

“While Americans are doing last minute holiday shopping, the majority party is doing its last minute spending. This year many families are cutting back their holiday shopping. Average holiday spending by Americans has dropped to $343 dollars per person from $372 dollars a year ago. You would think that during these tough times when most Americans are forced to tighten their belts, that Congress would also. Not a chance under this majority,” he said.

“This majority stumbled into 2009 with a budget that raised the deficit by $1.8 trillion. Then Congress decided to pass an $800 billion stimulus bill, $3 billion on Cash for Clunkers, a trillion dollars on a Cap and Tax bill, $1.3 trillion on the Democrat health care bill and recently another $447 billion was spent on Washington D.C. bureaucracies,” Heller said.

“After all this spending, the national debt is now more than $12 trillion dollars. Every American citizen will now owe more than $39,000 to pay for Washington’s spending. Now Democrats want to raise the debt limit to allow even more spending in 2010. The real “fat cat” is the federal government which spends, spends, and spends while the American public gets stuck with the bill, he said.

“I urge my colleagues to reject raising the debt limit and give the gift that American deserves…a responsible federal budget, he said.

Reuters reported that the debt limit increase narrowly passed the House by a vote of 218-214.  The Senate will vote on the bill by the end of the month.

Heller’s speech can also be seen at heller.house.gov or on YouTube.