Posts Tagged ‘Rep. Mark Amodei’

Latest “Fiscal Cliff” Talks Focusing On Tax Cuts

By Sean Whaley | 3:11 pm December 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – As Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., prepared today to attend another briefing with his House Republican colleagues on the latest “fiscal cliff” negotiations, he said that he would consider tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans to reduce the deficit, but not to fund increased government spending.

“Am I willing to increase revenues to fund more government spending?” Amodei asked. “No, I’m not. The spending dynamic is out of control. Am I willing to look at revenues that will reduce the debt, not to fund more government spending? Yes I am.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

The latest offer from GOP House Speaker John Boehner made earlier today, called “Plan B,” would renew tax cuts for all but those making more than $1 million a year. The proposed was quickly rejected by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

A statement from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in part that President Obama “is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors.”

Reid said the proposal would not pass both houses of Congress and he called on Boehner to work on forging a large-scale deficit reduction agreement.

“It would be a shame if Republicans abandoned productive negotiations due to pressure from the Tea Party, as they have time and again,” he said in a statement.

The latest counter proposal from the White House that was to be discussed at the House Republican caucus at 2 p.m. Pacific time would extend tax breaks for all but those making more than $400,000. President Obama originally proposed tax increases for those earning more than $250,000.

Boehner wants a vote on a tax cut extension by Thursday.

But Amodei said he is concerned that a vote on raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, if it comes without some decisions on reducing federal spending, could mean the new revenue from the deal would not go to reduce the deficit. That is unacceptable, he said.

“So it’s not: I won’t look at any revenues,” Amodei said. “But it’s like, listen: If you’re talking revenues just to allow government spending to increase, that’s the problem. So, if you’ve got a proposal out there that increases revenues and decreases the debt, then hey, let’s look at it.”

Amodei said he remains frustrated with the discussions because they do not at this point appear to be focused on long-term solutions for reducing the debt and getting federal spending under control. Constituents and others contacting his office are, for obvious reasons, focused on the Jan.1 fiscal cliff deadline, he said.

“You show me a political winner out of any of this and I’ll show you somebody who knows nothing about the policy,” he said. “Because my frustration at the moment is, it seems like we’re talking about stuff that will not, at the end of the day, bring about any change in terms of the federal debt posture.”

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says he is willing to look at tax revenue increases if the money goes to reducing the deficit:

121812Amodei1 :19 Yes I am.”

Amodei says he will look at proposals that raise revenue to reduce the deficit:

121812Amodei2 :22 look at it.”

Amodei says the latest discussions do not appear to be directed at the long-term federal deficit:

121812Amodei3 :15 federal debt posture.”

 

Amodei Pessimistic, Frustrated On Fiscal Cliff Talks

By Sean Whaley | 5:07 pm December 11th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today he is pessimistic that Congress and President Obama will be able to reach agreement on the so called “fiscal cliff” before tax hikes and mandatory budget cuts take effect Jan. 1.

Amodei, speaking by telephone from Washington, DC, said the sniping back and forth by Republicans and Democrats over extending tax cuts and cutting spending doesn’t get to the real root of how to reduce the federal deficit over the long term.

Getting the country’s economy back on track so jobs are created and consumer spending rises will do more to generate tax revenues and reduce the deficit than any level of tax hikes or spending cuts, Amodei said.

“You can talk all the revenue you want, and you can talk all the cuts you want, you need a healthy economy to get things going again,” he said. “And I don’t hear any of that. I just hear all the mud throwing on taxes and cuts.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

If the federal treasury was collecting revenue at 2007 levels, the federal deficit this year would be cut in half, Amodei said.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also said today that reaching a deal on the fiscal cliff before Christmas will be difficult.

Despite the apparent lack of progress, national news media were reporting that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner exchanged new offers on taxes and spending to avoid the cliff, which will take effect on Jan. 1 without an agreement. Without agreement, taxes on all workers will rise, and mandatory cuts in military and domestic spending will be implemented.

Amodei said the problem with raising taxes is that it won’t help to get the economy back on track.

Fixing the regulatory and tax climate to provide certainty and predictability will give businesses the confidence they need to hire more workers and reinvest, he said. Instead they are facing a tax increase because of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

“You look at that impact on businesses and they’re putting all their energy right now into how to convert their workforces into part-time employees,” he said.

“If I was going to go down to Virginia Street or Las Vegas Boulevard and bet on something, I’d bet on nothing happening and all this stuff kicking in on the 1st,” Amodei said.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says the key to solving the fiscal cliff challenge is getting the economy running again:

121112Amodei1 :18 taxes and cuts.”

Amodei says he does not think a deal will be made by the Jan. 1 deadline:

121112Amodei3 :10 on the 1st.”

 

Nevada’s GOP Congressional Delegation Spending Time With Constituents, Family, During Convention

By Sean Whaley | 11:36 am August 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – As GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval prepares to deliver remarks in Tampa at the Republican National Convention tomorrow, the three GOP members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation are staying close to home.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, who is facing a tough election battle against Rep. Shelley Berkley, will still be following the convention from afar, however.

Heller will be in Las Vegas later today to attend a Team Nevada Convention Watch party.

Rep. Mark Amodei, representing Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District, will be spending the week attending events and meeting with constituents across northern Nevada, from the capital to Minden, Lovelock, Winnemucca and Elko.

Rep. Joe Heck, representing the 3rd Congressional District, is taking some time with his family after spending the past three weeks meeting with constituents and fulfilling his mandatory military duty.

As the GOP convention gets under way with the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac diminishing for Florida, Gov. Mitt Romney had no public events scheduled today. His vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, was campaigning in his hometown in Wisconsin. Ryan attended a Republican National Convention send-off Victory rally at Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville.

Also today, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled a national debt clock mounted inside the convention hall of the Tampa Bay Times Forum to reinforce the “desperate need” for new fiscal leadership in the White House.

Sandoval’s brief speech at the convention is now set for 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time tomorrow after being rescheduled from today because of the threat from Isaac. Sandoval is expected to highlight the importance of protecting the American Dream for future generations along with the Gov. Romney’s own American success story.

 

Rep. Amodei Says Any Green Energy Policy That Pushes Utility Rates Higher Wrong For Nevada

By Sean Whaley | 4:05 pm August 13th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today that any “green energy” policy that leads to higher electric bills for Nevadans who are looking for work in tough economic times is the wrong energy policy for the state.

“Nobody is anti-green,” he said. “We struggle to compete with the cost of a kilowatt hour when we talk about economic development. And economic development has something to do with jobs.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

If federal money is going to be spent on research and development to make wind, solar and geothermal energy more competitive that’s one issue, Amodei said.

“But if those, when they get done, go to sell into the grid and that increases rates, especially right now when things are they way they are in Nevada, and competition for sustainable living wage jobs is what it is in the Inter-mountain West, I think that’s the wrong energy policy,” he said.

Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District representative made his comments to Sam Shad in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television program in response to recent comments from U.S. Sen. Harry Reid saying that NV Energy’s Reid Gardner coal plant in Clark County should be shut down. Reid has also urged NV Energy to support a $5 billion solar project that a Chinese company ENN Mojave Energy, wants to build near Laughlin.

An NV Energy official told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week that the utility has no plans to purchase more renewable energy at this time because it has exceeded the state’s requirement that 15 percent of its portfolio originate from green energy sources.

Amodei also questioned the effectiveness of federal financial support for green energy projects.

“If you go to the Department of Energy and you look in the last few years, they provided $1.5 billion, Sam, $1.5 billion in loan guarantees, to those projects in Nevada,” he said. “And while it’s great news for all the construction folks, I get that, in terms of the long-term jobs, it has created 137 long-term jobs throughout the state. That’s $22 million a job, Sam, in loan guarantees.”

Amodei appeared to get his math wrong, however, with a closer estimate being $11 million a job based on 137 jobs and loan guarantees of $1.5 billion.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute last week released its own analysis of the renewable energy sector in Nevada and found that over $1.3 billion in federal funds funneled into geothermal, solar and wind projects since 2009 has yielded and is projected to yield 288 permanent, full-time jobs, or $4.6 million per job.

Amodei said Gov. Brian Sandoval could create more jobs in Nevada if given a $1.5 billion bank to do so.

Reid was also successful several years ago in getting NV Energy to terminate the construction of a coal-fired plant near Ely in eastern Nevada. NV Energy announced in 2009 it was stopping work on the $5 billion project. Two coal plants had been planned for the area by the utility.

Amodei said the project was able to meet all environmental and air quality requirements.

“These folks have complied with all of the objective regulations and permitting requirements, and you’ve got somebody (Reid) coming in, going, ‘forget about the rules, I’m going to impose my will,’ ” Amodei said.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says any plan requiring Nevadans to pay more in utility costs to promote green energy is the wrong policy for the state:

081312Amodei1 :30 wrong energy policy.”

Amodei says long-term job creation with $1.5 billion in federal loan guarantees has been disappointing:

081312Amodei2 :23 in loan guarantees.”

Amodei says the proposed coal fire plants had met all air quality requirements:

081312Amodei3 :09 impose my will.’ “

 

 

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., Introduces Bill To Let City Of Carlin Purchase 5,000 Acres Of Federal Land

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 2:05 pm August 2nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., has introduced H.R. 6282, the Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act, which would give the City of Carlin the opportunity to purchase nearly 5,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management lands surrounding the city at fair market value for the purpose of multi-use development.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

“Carlin’s situation is the sort of problem we would like to have more of in Nevada,” Amodei said. “Thanks to the high-paying jobs created by the mining industry, Carlin needs room for growth, particularly housing. This bill would enable the local community to determine its own economic future by purchasing parcels, as needed, for smart, sustainable development.”

Amodei, elected to the 2nd Congressional District in a special election in September 2011, is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. H.R. 6282 is the 10th bill he has introduced designed to give Nevada greater local control over its public lands. More than 85 percent of Nevada is controlled by the federal government.

House Passes Rep. Amodei’s Yerington Land Transfer Bill, Measure Now Heads To Senate

By Sean Whaley | 6:01 pm June 19th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4039, the Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act, the first piece of legislation introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., since taking office after a special election in September 2011.

The measure, as title IX of the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, a larger jobs and public lands package, passed with some limited Democratic support in a 232 to 188 vote. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would mandate the fair market sale of approximately 10,400 acres of public lands to the City of Yerington and Lyon County for economic, recreational and cultural development.

Sixteen Democrats supported the bill in the House vote.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., a co-sponsor of the Yerington bill, supported the omnibus bill. But Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., another co-sponsor of the land transfer proposal, voted against the act, which rolled 14 different bills into one.

Berkley said in a statement that she is a strong supporter of the land transfer measure and that it was unfortunate it could not be voted on as a single bill.

“It is extremely unfortunate the House did not have the opportunity to vote on this important job-creating measure except as part of a larger legislative package that has no chance of passing in the Senate and faces strong opposition in Nevada,” she said. “I am eager to continue working closely with Congressman Amodei and other members of the Nevada delegation to pass this crucial legislation in the near future.”

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who sponsored companion legislation for Amodei’s bill, criticized Berkley’s no vote. Heller and Berkley are locked in a tough race for the Senate in the 2012 general election.

“Shelley Berkley needs to explain why she sided with environmental groups over northern Nevada,” Heller said. “Instead of supporting legislation that would have created jobs in Yerington, she chose to side with the League of Conservation Voters. This is typical Shelley Berkley, saying one thing and then doing another. Today she cast another vote in a long string of votes where she stubbornly refused to acknowledge that people in Nevada are actually hurting.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

In remarks on the floor, Amodei said the land transfer is expected to assist in the creation of 800 high-paying mining jobs in Lyon County, which leads Nevada in unemployment at 16.3 percent. Nevada leads the nation among states in unemployment.

“Eight hundred jobs, no cost to the federal government,” he said. “This is a state where there are loan guarantees for renewable energy to the tune of $1.5 billion and we’ve got 136 jobs to show for it. Eight hundred jobs, no cost to the government.”

Amodei responded to criticisms by House members who opposed the bill on various grounds, including a requirement that the transfer of the land by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to Yerington be accomplished within 90 days of the bill’s enactment.

“So you want to change the bill to ‘if you feel like doing it go ahead, and by the way, take as much time as you want’,” he said. “No thank you. No thank you to ‘if you feel like it and take as much time as you want’.”

Heller also issued a statement welcoming the favorable House vote.

“This legislation is an example of how Congress can act to encourage job growth, and I am pleased the House passed this measure,” he said. “Mining is the backbone of Nevada’s rural economy and we are fortunate to have resources in our own backyard for economic development. Nevada has led the country in unemployment for the past 32 months, and Congress should focus on every opportunity available to create jobs.”

The City of Yerington and Lyon County are seeking the transfer to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

Nevada Copper, which broke ground on the Pumpkin Hollow project in February, invested nearly $50 million in exploration to justify the $1 billion investment necessary to fully develop the mine. The mine will produce 250 to 300 million pounds of copper per year.

The initial shaft sinking is already producing economic benefits with the creation of 30 to 40 jobs. An additional 250 to 500 construction jobs could start in 2013 if the land transfer is successful. At full operation in 2015-2016, Pumpkin Hollow is projected to employ 750 to 800 people directly.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says a 90-day transfer requirement is reasonable:

061912Amodei1 :11 as you want.”

Amodei says the measure will create 800 highly-paid mining jobs at no cost to the federal government:

061912Amodei2 :15 to the government.”

 

 

 

 

House Natural Resources Committee Passes Yerington Land Transfer Bill

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:14 pm June 7th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The House Natural Resources Committee today passed, with bipartisan support, H.R. 4039, the Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act, which was introduced by Congressman Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

“I want to thank Chairman (Doc) Hastings and my colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee for their thoughtful consideration and support of this bill, which is of vital importance to the people of Yerington, Lyon County, and Northern Nevada,” Amodei said.

“I will continue to work with my fellow Nevadans and original cosponsors, Representatives (Shelley) Berkley and (Joe) Heck, as well as Majority Leader (Eric) Cantor, to bring the bill up for a timely vote before the full House of Representatives,” he said. “I am grateful for the attention the committee has given to the legislation to facilitate its movement. I look forward to the bill’s final passage in the House and its arrival in the Senate where I trust it will encounter the same display of bipartisanship. Go Harry Reid and Dean Heller.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

The bill would convey approximately 11,000 acres of land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to the City of Yerington for economic, recreational, and cultural development. The city and Lyon County are seeking to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

Nevada Copper, which broke ground on the Pumpkin Hollow project in February, invested nearly $50 million in exploration to justify the $1 billion investment necessary to fully develop the mine. The mine will produce 250 to 300 million pounds of copper per year. The initial shaft sinking is already producing economic benefits with the creation of 30 to 40 jobs. An additional 250 to 500 construction jobs could start in 2013 if the land transfer is successful. At full operation in 2015-2016, Pumpkin Hollow is projected to employ 750 to 800 people directly.

 

Obama Visits Reno, Urges Congress To Expand Mortgage Refinancing Program

By Sean Whaley | 3:36 pm May 11th, 2012

RENO – President Barack Obama made a brief stopover here today, visiting with a couple who refinanced their home through a White House initiative helping underwater homeowners who have government-backed loans.

After meeting with Paul and Valerie Keller, Obama urged Congress to expand the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP) to other mortgages as well.

President Obama greets the crowd in Reno today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

The Kellers were able to save $240 a month by refinancing using the program, he said.

“Now, Val says that they’ve been talking to some of their neighbors  – maybe some of you are here today – and you’re saying, well, that sounds like a pretty good idea. And a lot of folks across the country recognize this is a smart thing to do not only for homeowners but for our economy, because if Paul and Val have an extra $240, $250 a month, then they might spend it on the local business.

“And that means more money in the economy, and businesses do better, and slowly home prices start rising again,” Obama said. “So it makes sense for all of us.

“There’s absolutely no reason why they can’t make this happen right now,” Obama said to a small crowd gathered on Ridgecrest Drive in north Reno. “If they started now, in a couple of weeks, in a month, they could make every homeowner in America who is underwater right now eligible to be able to refinance their homes – if they’re making their payments, if they’re responsible, if they’re doing the right thing.  And think about all those families saving $3,000 on average a year – that’s a huge boost to our economy.”

Obama said that since the announcement, refinancing applications have gone up by 50 percent nationwide and 230 percent in Nevada.

“That’s the good news,” he said. “People are taking advantage of this.”

Obama’s Nevada visit comes as he campaigns for a second term in the White House. He won Nevada in 2008, but with the highest unemployment rate and one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation, the state is considered to be a toss up.

His visit prompted a response from the Mitt Romney campaign by Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki.

In a conference call, Amodei and Krolicki said they do not want the president’s focus on the success of the Kellers to overshadow what they called his overall failing policies.

“How many people fit that profile?” Amodei asked about the Kellers. “When you look at the success of those policies, we are still in critical condition in relation to housing in Nevada.”

“I appreciate the fact that the president is coming to town and sitting in the living room with the Kellers, but it is not going to solve our problems,” Krolicki said. “We need a president that is encouraging job growth. The easiest cure for a foreclosure is a job.”

Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange released a statement praising Obama’s proposal: “The president’s mortgage refinancing plan would make a real difference to families nationwide and here in Nevada. This key piece of the president’s ‘To-Do List’ could help families save up to $3,000 a year, reducing foreclosures, boosting the economy, and speeding the recovery of the housing market.

“In contrast, Mitt Romney told Nevada families facing foreclosure they need to ‘hit the bottom’ and called for rolling back laws to protect families against the mortgage abuses that helped create the financial crisis,” she said.

But at least one news report has questioned whether the Kellers are the responsible homeowners as described by Obama. CNBC reported that the Kellers did a “cash out” refinancing in 2007 that helped put them in their current predicament.

It was Obama’s first visit to Reno since April 2011, but he has also visited Southern Nevada twice this year and First Lady Michelle Obama was in Las Vegas at a fundraiser last week.

He arrived in Reno after attending a fundraiser in California.

President Obama with Paul and Valerie Keller in Reno today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Obama hinted at the difficulties facing many Nevadans as he began his remarks, noting that “it is going to take a long time for the economy to fully recover. More time than any of us would like. But there are plenty of steps we can take to speed up the recovery right now.”

In addition to the refinancing program, he identified four other “common-sense policies” on Congress’s “To-Do” list that can help now in the economic recovery: end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, give small business owners tax breaks for hiring more workers and paying higher wages, extend tax credits for clean energy companies and create a Veterans Jobs Corps so that veterans can get work as police and firefighters.

Americans for Prosperity – Nevada (AFP-NV) today questioned Obama’s call that Congress extend certain clean energy tax credits, arguing they have a bad track record of creating jobs or promoting green energy technology.

“Hard working Nevada taxpayers want to know why the president continues to ignore the facts and waste their money on expensive, unproven ‘green energy’ boondoggles like Solyndra,” said Adam Stryker, state director of AFP-NV. “It’s time for the president to stop bowing to blind ideology and support real job creation.”

In his concluding remarks, Obama said: “I need all of you, and everybody who is watching, to push Congress on their “To-Do” list,” he said. “Nag them until they actually get it done. We need to keep moving this country forward. Send them an email. Tweet them. Write them a letter if you’re old-fashioned like me. But communicate to them that this will make a difference. It’s one small step that will help us create the kind of economy that all Americans deserve.”

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Audio clips:

President Obama says the refinancing program is good for the economy:

051112Obama1 :33 all of us.”

Obama says people are taking advantage of the program:

051112Obama2 :13 the good news.”

Obama says people need to tell Congress to get moving on the “To-Do” list;

051112Obama3 :35 all Americans deserve.”

 

 

 

Rep. Amodei Introduces Bill To Speed Public Land Transfers

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 10:30 am April 30th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., today introduced legislation to accelerate the process for transferring small parcels of federal land to local communities.

The “Small Lands Tracts Conveyance Act,” H.R.4976, is aimed at reducing the decade-long process that now exists for many land transfers in Western states, even those that are noncontroversial, he said.

Amodei, who represents the 2nd Congressional District covering much of rural Nevada, said that while such transfers need to be scrutinized, the bureaucratic regulatory maze and slow legislative process are the main culprits in dragging out the transfers.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

“Why should it take more than 10 years for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to transfer the lands they don’t want to local stakeholders who do?” asked Amodei. “What’s needed is an efficient process that promotes community-directed uses and reasonable economic development. In Nevada, where the federal government controls more than 85 percent of the land, these administrative and legislative delays are a wet blanket on our economy and our conservation efforts.”

The bill defines a “small tract” as 160 acres or less and would limit the transfer process for such lands to 18 months by establishing firm deadlines for the BLM and USFS to meet. It would exclude lands with established federal protection for cultural, biological, or endangered species issues.

If parcels are purchased by private entities for fair market value, 50 percent of the revenues from the sales would go to the county governments in which the lands are located, with the other 50 percent going to the federal treasury. If non-private entities purchase lands, such as county governments, 100 percent of the revenues would go to the treasury.

“This bill is a win-win-win,” Amodei said. “It would save the taxpayers, BLM and the USFS the expense of managing an excessive portfolio of federal lands. It would generate revenue for local and federal government, which could be used for deficit reduction. And most importantly, it would give states like Nevada the freedom to determine how best to use our own lands, whether it’s for economic development, farming and ranching, or conservation.”

The legislation would not apply to another measure sponsored by Amodei and other members of the Nevada Congressional delegation seeking to transfer approximately 10,000 acres of BLM land to Lyon County and the city of Yerington for industrial, recreational and cultural development.

The transfer would allow the governments to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

The Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act had a hearing earlier this month.

Amodei told the Reno Gazette-Journal he is optimistic about getting the bill through the House by the summer, although its future in the Senate is less certain.

Control of federal lands in the West was one subject of a Friday conference sponsored by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Gov. Brian Sandoval attended by phone.

Following the meeting, Sandoval said in a statement: “I was pleased to join part of today’s Rocky Mountain Roundtable discussion via phone. Now that we’ve begun the discussion, I believe we should work together and have a strategy as issues pertaining to Western states arise. I suggested regular conversations and I look forward to continued partnerships among Western states.”

Yerington Public Lands Bill To Get DC Hearing Next Week

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:24 pm April 13th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., is praising the decision by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands to hold a legislative hearing for H.R. 4039, the Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act, on Tuesday.

The hearing is an important first step before the bill can be marked up by the committee and brought to the House floor for consideration.

“For more than four years, the city of Yerington and Lyon County have worked on this sustainable development plan to enable all community stakeholders to benefit from an increase in adjacent private lands,” Amodei said in a prepared statement. “The conveyance of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land would enable the city and county to grow while providing needed tax revenue and the potential for hundreds of long-term, high-paying jobs.”

The bill would convey approximately 10,000 acres of BLM land to the local governments for industrial, recreational and cultural development. The transfer would allow the governments to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

It is being sponsored by Amodei, along with Nevada Reps. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The Pumpkin Hollow project is a new copper mine being developed by Nevada Copper. A ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the mine was held in February.

“Nevada’s unemployment rate is the highest in the nation and Lyon County’s is the highest in Nevada,” Amodei said. “According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, in February roughly 6,500 Nevadans gave up looking for a job and left the labor force all together. If we’re serious about the economy, then this community-driven plan, with no cost to taxpayers, is exactly the sort of thing the federal government needs to fast-track.”

Amodei, elected to the 2nd Congressional District seat in a special election in September, is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Nevada Copper invested nearly $50 million in exploration to justify the $1 billion investment necessary to fully develop the mine. The mine will produce 250 to 300 million pounds of copper per year. The initial shaft sinking is already producing economic benefits with the creation of 30 to 40 jobs. An additional 250 to 500 construction jobs could start in 2013 if the land transfer is successful. At full operation in 2015-2016, Pumpkin Hollow is projected to employ 750 to 800 people directly.

Gov. Sandoval Says Nevada Does Not Want Nuclear Waste, But New Poll Shows Support For Research Facility

By Sean Whaley | 3:15 pm March 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today making it clear that he does not support any type of nuclear waste disposal or interim storage at Yucca Mountain.

“There should be no uncertainty or misunderstanding of my position with regard to an interim spent fuel storage site or repository site in Nevada; the state of Nevada does not support the location of any such site within the state and will oppose any attempt to either resurrect the defunct Yucca Mountain project or locate an interim storage facility at Yucca or elsewhere in Nevada,” Sandoval said.

Aerial view of the crest of Yucca Mountain / U.S. Department of Energy photo.

“While I am cognizant of the letter sent to you last week from Nye County expressing support for a Yucca Mountain repository, Nye County does not and cannot speak for the state of Nevada,” he said.

Sandoval’s letter is in response to DOE’s plan to conduct a review of the recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future released earlier this year. Those recommendations include a “consent-based” approach to addressing the country’s high level radioactive waste disposal challenge that would require agreement from a potential host state before a disposal facility could be built.

Sandoval’s letter comes just as a new poll commissioned by Nevadans 4 Carbon Free Energy shows support for Yucca Mountain as a research park for the study of reprocessing nuclear spent fuel.

The poll of 500 likely Nevada voters, taken in late February by Public Opinion Strategies, showed 62 percent in support of the research park versus 34 percent who said Yucca Mountain should be closed entirely.

The question posed was whether respondents would prefer to: “Open Yucca Mountain for the study and potential reprocessing of nuclear waste into usable energy because of the jobs and money such a project would bring to the state . . .”

Or: “Close Yucca Mountain altogether to help protect Nevada’s environment.”

“UNR, UNLV, and many national labs around the country are conducting research on how to utilize innovative technologies now available to reprocess spent fuel, so bringing them all together to develop the best technology for commercial reprocessing makes sense,” said Gene Humphrey, the head of Nevadans 4 Carbon Free Energy (NV4CFE), a non-profit organization that supports building the research park. “Since several national laboratories are already doing work at the Nevada Test Site, it seems like the logical location to continue the legacy of nuclear exploration. But this project could generate a new form of clean energy, establish new export industries and create thousands of jobs for Nevadans.”

Recently Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said Yucca Mountain is not dead because members of Congress bring it up on a regular basis.

A statement on Amodei’s congressional website says in part: “Let me be clear, I do not believe Yucca Mountain should become a simple dumping site for the nation’s nuclear waste. I believe the Administration and Department of Energy (DOE) should keep funding for the project, while Congress works with the DOE to make the location a bastion of nuclear research and reprocessing.”

Rep. Amodei Not Optimistic On Budget Or Deficit Deal, But Sees Chance For Lands Bills In Congress This Year

By Sean Whaley | 2:56 pm February 22nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today he is not optimistic that Congress will make any substantive progress on a balanced budget or deficit reduction this year given the focus on the presidential election.

But Amodei, in town on a brief recess, said he is hopeful that progress can be made on Nevada-related public lands bills he is sponsoring as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

The U.S. Senate has gone over 1,000 days without a budget, he said in a brief interview after speaking to the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“So you ask yourself what will change in the next six months on that side?” he asked. “If history is any indicator probably nothing. Will the House vote on a budget? Yup. So, I don’t know. Being optimistic is probably not something you should be, for the budget.”

Amodei said he is very optimistic about moving his lands bills within the next several months, however.

“We’ve got some good stuff in the hopper that should move, so that’s the way I’m going to approach it,” he said.

One of the measures is the Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act, which is jointly being sponsored by Amodei, Rep. Shelley Berkeley, D-Nev., and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.

The bill would convey approximately 10,000 acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the City of Yerington for commercial, industrial, recreational and cultural development. The city and Lyon County are seeking to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

The Pumpkin Hollow project is a new copper mine being developed by Nevada Copper. A ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the mine was held this past weekend.

Amodei is also pursuing a measure along with the rest of the Nevada delegation to create the Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area north of Winnemucca. The proposal has been endorsed by Humboldt County officials and other stakeholders.

He also plans to introduce legislation making it easier to dispose of small pieces of federal land that are adjacent to urban areas to help in economic development.

Amodei said he is grateful for Republican leadership and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., for making room for his appointment to the Natural Resources Committee. Fleischmann stepped down from the committee so Amodei could serve.

Members of the chamber asked about local issues, including the completion of the V&T Railroad and the Carson City bypass, which remains unfinished.

Amodei said there are no more earmarks for such projects, but that a Transportation Bill is being prepared that could potentially provide assistance for the bypass. Supporters of such projects need to identify the opportunities in the federal budget process to pursue funding, he said.

Amodei has been in Congress for just over five months, having been elected to the 2nd Congressional District in a special election in September 2011. Amodei replaced Dean Heller, R-Nev., who was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to fill the vacancy in the Senate created with the resignation of John Ensign.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says he is not optimistic about efforts to balance the federal budget this year because of the election:

022212Amodei1 :25 for the budget.”

Amodei says he is hopeful for progress on his lands bills, however:

022212Amodei2 :18 to approach it.”

 

Former Nevada Gov. Richard Bryan Calls Rep. Mark Amodei’s Remarks On Yucca Mountain “Unfortunate”

By Sean Whaley | 4:37 pm February 16th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Richard Bryan today described Rep. Mark Amodei’s recent comments about Yucca Mountain not being dead as a site to dispose of the nation’s nuclear waste was as “unfortunate.”

“The great majority of Nevadans, dating back more than 30 years ago when I was governor, have taken a position that Yucca Mountain threatens the health and safety of Nevadans,” Bryan said in an interview with Sam Shad on the Nevada NewsMakers television program. “The issue was politicized in terms of its site location and there are a number of scientific issues that should give every Nevadan cause for concern.”

Gov. Richard Bryan.

Bryan was responding to a statement from Amodei, R-Nev., that says in part: “While some of my colleagues in the delegation have successfully managed to slow the project through the congressional appropriations process, I do not believe it is a ‘dead’ issue and think it is more likely the repository will eventually come to fruition through a sound scientific process over time.”

Amodei’s statement also says in part: “Let me be clear, I do not believe Yucca Mountain should become a simple dumping site for the nation’s nuclear waste. I believe the Administration and Department of Energy (DOE) should keep funding for the project, while Congress works with the DOE to make the location a bastion of nuclear research and reprocessing.”

Amodei was elected to the 2nd Congressional District seat in a special election in September 2011.

Bryan said the Obama Administration has indicated that it will not move forward with Yucca Mountain, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has successfully worked to defund the project, and a special bipartisan commission is now calling for a new, “consent oriented” approach to find a suitable location for the disposal of the nation’s high-level nuclear waste.

As a result, Yucca Mountain will not move forward as a repository, he said.

“And I think it is unfortunate that Nevadans, both Democrat and Republican alike, would break ranks at this key moment when in my opinion, Sam, we are literally on the threshold of a victory that the great majority of Nevadans have sought for a third of a century,” Bryan said.

Amodei said he does not believe Yucca Mountain is dead because it comes up as a topic of conversation in the House all the time.

“While I understand it’s great politics for some of my predecessors to say it’s dead, and all that other sort of stuff, and more power to them, you can’t sit here and listen to those guys talk on the floor every week and walk back and tell Nevadans that you think it’s dead too, OK?” he said.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

Googling nuclear waste or Yucca Mountain in the congressional record provides all the proof anyone needs the project remains alive, he said.

Amodei also cited the final report from the Blue Ribbon Commission On America’s Nuclear Future, which found that the Obama decision to halt work on Yucca Mountain is evidence of a nuclear waste management policy that has been “troubled for decades and has now reached an impasse.” Impasse does not mean dead and the report says the impasse cannot continue, he said.

“While nobody wants a nuclear landfill in Nevada, we probably ought to at least talk about it,” Amodei said. “Well if that is breaking ranks, then yes I did.”

Bryan also dismissed any suggestion that funding would flow to Nevada if it accepted the Yucca Mountain project.

“That absolutely is utterly false,” he said. “There has never been any money promised us in terms of real money out there. The industry itself has never offered anything and nor has the federal government. And I guess I would say that even if some money were offered, in my view this is a question of health and safety.

“And when you press those folks who make those assertions, tell us where,” Bryan said. “Show us. Who is offering the money; when, and where, and how much. And Sam, I would respectfully suggest that these misguided Nevadans can’t come up with an answer.”

Bryan, a Democrat who was elected governor in 1982 and 1986 and then to the U.S. Senate in 1988 where he served two terms, is now a member of the Lionel Sawyer & Collins law firm. Bryan fought against the Yucca Mountain project during his time in public office and continues to speak out against it.

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Audio clips:

Gov. Richard Bryan calls Rep. Mark Amodei’s comments about Yucca Mountain “unfortunate”:

021612Bryan1 :22 cause for concern.”

Bryan says Nevada is on the threshold of a victory on Yucca Mountain:

021612Bryan2 :16 of a century.”

Bryan says no money has been promised Nevada for accepting Yucca Mountain:

021612Bryan3 :27 health and safety.”

Bryan says those saying there is money available should be specific:

021612Bryan4 :14 with an answer.”

Rep. Mark Amodei says he sees evidence weekly in the House that Yucca Mountain is not dead:

021612Amodei1 :18 dead too, OK?”

Amodei says if seeking to talk about Yucca Mountain is breaking ranks, then yes he did:

021612Amodei2 :15 yes I did.”

 

 

Rep. Amodei Rejects Congressional Earmarks, Says Projects Should Go Through Regular Budget Process

By Sean Whaley | 3:51 pm January 9th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today he opposes the earmark process used to fund various projects around the country, advocating instead that state priorities for federal support go through a regular budget review.

“The problem with earmarks, when you look at them, it’s symbolic largely, because it’s not that it’s a huge part of the federal budget,” he said. “But a lot of them appear at the end with absolutely no hearings and they are in bills.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

“It’s not that you shouldn’t spend federal money for specific things like that, whether it’s capital improvements or something else, but there should be some level of hearing on them,” Amodei said in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television show. “And the problem with earmarks is it has become synonymous with little or no hearing whatsoever. So you find out about them after the fact with absolutely no record in support.”

The appropriateness of earmarks generated some controversy in Northern Nevada last week when U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., toured the new air traffic control tower at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Heller in November 2010 said he would not seek earmarks for Nevada projects.

The $27 million in funding for the tower was provided with earmarks supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Heller acknowledged helping with the funding for the project as well, and the Nevada State Democrat Party criticized the freshman senator for what it said was his flip-flopping on the issue.

“It’s hypocrisy,” said Democratic Party Communications Director Zack Hudson. “It’s another example of how he’ll say anything and do anything just to get elected again.”

Heller, appointed to the Senate in May by Gov. Brian Sandoval, is facing a challenge from Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. in the 2012 general election.

Amodei was elected Sept. 13 in a special election to take Heller’s seat in the 2nd Congressional District, which covers all of Northern and rural Nevada.

In the interview, Amodei said he believes the tower would have been built without the earmark process because it was desperately needed for safety reasons.

“Because I’ve been in that tower during my first 115 days, and you look across at the old one, where you couldn’t even the ramps down there . . .,” he said. “I am certain that you could have made a very strong public case for this should rise to the top for tower improvements for FAA facilities throughout the nation. I mean, it speaks for itself, if you will.”

Amodei said he has priorities for federal spending in Nevada, but that the projects should go through the budget process and compete for funding.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says projects should go through the regular budget process:

010912Amodei1 :13 are in bills.”

Amodei says state funding requests need to go through a hearing process:

010912Amodei2 :16 record in support.”

Amodei says the Reno-Tahoe Airport tower was a project that stood on its own merits:

010912Amodei3 :20 if you will.”

 

Amodei Will Run For Re-Election, Touts Accomplishments In First 55 Days In Congress

By Sean Whaley | 11:38 am November 7th, 2011

RENO – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., made it official today, saying he will run for a full-term in District 2 in the 2012 election.

Amodei, on a tour of his district with his Washington, DC staff in tow, made the unsurprising announcement at an open house in his new Reno office in the Bruce Thompson federal building here. Amodei will also visit Elko and Winnemucca on his trip and return to Washington on Sunday.

“First of all it’s Day 55 of the Amodei tenure in congress,” he said in a briefing with the media. “But I think in terms of delivering on the ‘I think I can hit the ground running’ (campaign promise) –  (I) introduced two pieces of legislation already, co-sponsored several, first day I was sworn in voted on the right to work deal with NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) and South Carolina – so it’s been a pretty busy time.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., talks to the media today in a Reno open house. / Nevada News Bureau.

Amodei was elected to replace Dean Heller in a special election Sept. 13, 55 days ago today. Heller was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to the U.S. Senate to replace John Ensign, who resigned. Amodei was on his way to Washington the next day and was sworn into office on Sept. 15, casting his first vote the same day.

Amodei said he still feels like the new guy after nearly two months in office, and still has to figure out a way to buy a television and get it back to his apartment on the DC metro.

Amodei said he is grateful for Republican leadership and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., for making room for his appointment to the Natural Resources Committee. Nevada representation on the panel is critical given that 85 percent of the state is under the control of the federal government, he said.

“There was not an opening, and so one of my colleagues was nice enough to say, ‘I’ll step aside to create an opening’, so that was a big deal,” Amodei said.

Amodei’s fledgling legislative efforts include a measure asking the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to go through Congress and not use executive authority to create wilderness areas in the west, and a proposal just introduced to create the Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area north of Winnemucca. The proposal has been endorsed by Humboldt County officials and other stakeholders.

“I firmly believe it’s possible to use resources responsibly in an environmental sense but maintain multiple use concepts, so we’re going to be going forward with that,” Amodei said.

Amodei said he has had good discussions with BLM officials about ways to speed up the permitting process to let mining projects go forward to create jobs in Nevada.

“I can tell you that the complaint I’ve heard the most is the amount of time it takes,” he said.

Amodei said he endorsed Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential race because he is “the most vetted and most electable” of the candidates. Romney is also the only candidate who asked for an endorsement, he said.

“I just think Mitt Romney is the strongest general election candidate in the field right now,” he said.

Amodei also defended his hiring decisions, responding to a Reno Gazette-Journal report that no Nevadans are on his Washington, DC, staff.

The Nevada Democratic Party wasted no time in trying to capitalize on the story: “In case we needed further evidence that Republicans aren’t focused on getting Nevadans back to work, the RGJ reports that career politician and lobbyist Mark Amodei doesn’t have any Nevadans employed in his Washington office. Apparently in the state with the highest unemployment in the country, Amodei could not find one Nevadan to work in his DC office,” spokesman Zach Hudson said in a statement today.

Amodei said he did not turn down any Nevadans for the DC staff jobs, and noted that he and his staff were on the job responding to constituents in record time.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says it has been a busy 55 days:

110711Amodei1 :18 pretty busy time.”

Amodei says getting a seat on the Natural Resources Committee is a big deal:

110711Amodei2 :16 a big deal.”

Amodei says environmental concerns and resource development can go hand-in-hand:

110711Amodei3 :10 forward with that.”

Amodei defends his Washington, DC staff hiring:

110711Amodei4 :19 closed in Nevada.”