Posts Tagged ‘White House’

Retiring NDOT Director To Be Honored By White House On Tuesday

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:59 am July 30th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The White House tomorrow will honor leaders who have helped their communities through transportation innovation, including retiring NDOT Director Susan Martinovich, as part of the Champions of Change program.

Transportation Innovators are individuals or organizations who have provided exemplary leadership in the growth and expansion of the transportation industry at the local, state or regional level.

Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“Today’s Champions are leaders in developing and implementing innovative transportation initiatives,” said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “They are making a difference every day in their local communities and across the country by improving America’s transportation infrastructure and helping their friends and neighbors get where they need to go.”

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

The event can be watched live Tuesday at 8 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time at

Martinovich, who has been with the Nevada Department of Transportation for more than 28 years, is retiring in September after five years as director. Martinovich has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno and is a licensed professional engineer in Nevada and California.

She is past president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and serves on the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board Executive Committee, as well as many other national committees in the areas of Safety, Research and Policy Initiatives.

The state Board of Transportation last week selected Rudy Malfabon, a 24-year veteran of the agency, as the new director.


Las Vegas Attorney Readies Nevada For U.S. Supreme Court Review Of Federal Health Care Law

By Sean Whaley | 2:43 pm November 15th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The Las Vegas attorney representing Nevada in the 26-state challenge to the new federal health care law says the case is critically important because of the mandate for people to purchase health insurance.

“Never before in our nation’s history has the federal government required its citizens to purchase a product or service as a condition of citizenship in this country,” said Mark Hutchison, who is representing Nevada without charge in the case. “This case is of high importance to all Nevadans, because if the federal government can require us to purchase health insurance, then they can require us to purchase anything they choose.”

Hutchison, in a statement issued Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, said the initial written briefs are due Dec. 29. Oral arguments are expected to be in March. The court will issue a decision in the case before its term expires at the end of June 2012.

U.S. Supreme Court.

First appointed by Gov. Jim Gibbons, and then re-affirmed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, Hutchison was named to serve as lead special counsel for the state when Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto declined to represent the state in the federal litigation.

In addition to the 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is a party to the challenge.

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director for the NFIB, said in a statement Monday: “This act is already increasing the cost of health care on Nevadans, increasing costs to Nevada taxpayers for Medicaid and Medicare coverage, and causing business owners to even drop coverage for their employees. Health care needs to be more accessible and affordable, but this act is not the way to reach that goal.”

Others also weighed in on the decision.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer issued this statement: “Earlier this year, the Obama Administration asked the Supreme Court to consider legal challenges to the health reform law and we are pleased the court has agreed to hear this case.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, one million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own pocket and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses. We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in a statement: “Nevada families and businesses are already struggling in this current economic environment, and the president’s job killing health care law is making a difficult situation worse. The law’s excessive taxes, expensive regulations and questionable constitutionality are stripping businesses of the certainty they need to hire at a time when Nevadans and the rest of the country are desperate for jobs.

“While the Supreme Court considers this case, the president should work with Congress to find real solutions to health care reform so the excessive mandates in this law do not add to our national debt or hurt our struggling economy,” he said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement: “Families, seniors and small businesses in Nevada and across the country are reaping the benefits of health insurance reform. Prescription drug costs for seniors are falling as the Medicare ‘donut hole’ closes, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, and business owners are taking advantage of tax breaks.

“Just last week, a conservative judge appointed by President Reagan ruled that this legislation is constitutional, and I am confident the high court will do the same,” he said.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said in a statement: “I believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and it is my hope that the Supreme Court will overturn it. Already, during my short time in Congress, I voted to repeal a provision of the president’s health care law that raised eligibility for Medicaid far beyond the intended poverty level. This correction is estimated to save taxpayers at least $13 billion over 10 years.

“I eagerly await the court’s decision and from there we’ll be able to assess the path for repealing what amounts to government control of 16 percent of our economy,” he said.

A number of federal courts have weighed in on the law with sometimes contradictory rulings on the constitutionality of the law and the individual mandate. President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to use the case filed by the states, including Nevada, and the NFIB, to determine the constitutionality of the law.

Nevada and the other states challenged the law in federal court in the Northern District of Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled in the states’ favor and declared the individual mandate in the federal health care law unconstitutional. He declared the entire law unconstitutional without the mandate.

The 11th U.S. District Court Appeals then upheld Vinson’s ruling on the individual mandate but said the rest of the law could stand.

The U.S. Supreme Court will now take up the issues of whether the individual mandate is constitutional and whether the entire law is unconstitutional if the individual mandate is unlawful.

The individual mandate requires all U.S. citizens and residents to purchase health insurance from a private company or face government-imposed penalties enforced by the Internal Revenue Service.

“We are pleased that the highest court in the country will make a final decision about the constitutional fate of the healthcare legislation,” Hutchison said. “The states are confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will determine that the law is unconstitutional.”

Gov. Sandoval Praises Appeals Court Ruling on Federal Health Care Package

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:56 pm August 12th, 2011

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval today praised a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the so-called “individual mandate” in federal health care legislation.

“The ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals confirms what we have known all along: the federal health care law’s individual mandate was over-reaching and unconstitutional,” said Sandoval in a statement. “Nevada continues to be well-represented in this case and I expect there will be ultimate victory before the United States Supreme Court.”

A panel of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found fault with the requirement in the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that says Americans must carry personal health insurance or face financial penalties.

The 11th Circuit decision is a pivotal judicial event because it reviewed a sweeping ruling by a U.S. District Court in Florida.

A divided three-judge panel did not agree with the lower court on all counts but did strike down the so-called “individual mandate,” ruling in favor of 26 states that had sued to block the law on the basis that it was unconstitutional and violates individual rights.

White House adviser Stephanie Cutter said on a White House blog that the administration strongly disagreed with the ruling.

“Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are making an economic decision that affects all of us — when people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab,” wrote Cutter.

But today’s decision, written by Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull, found that “the individual mandate contained in the Act exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power.”

“What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die,” the opinion said.

Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus said in his dissent that the panel majority ignored the “undeniable fact that Congress’ commerce power has grown exponentially over the past two centuries, and is now generally accepted as having afforded Congress the authority to create rules regulating large areas of our national economy.”

Marcus’ opinion agreed with that of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which in June upheld the government’s requirement that most Americans buy health insurance.

Government officials are expected to either ask for a review of today’s decision by the full court or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


FP: Harry Reid’s Pudding

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:01 am February 11th, 2010

This Foreign Policy piece re: to-date and likely White House admin terminations is very good.  Read it if you have time.  If not, here are the last three (Reid-related) paragraphs:

But I would like to offer a contrarian view. I would like to suggest that while some churn is inevitable, it is premature to be calling out the White House, Rahm Emanuel, or anyone on the time for failures at governance. Could Rahm & Co. be more strategic, less tactical, less deferential to the Hill, less reactive? Of course. But consider this: If the Senate had passed every bill the House has already passed and the President had signed into law major healthcare reform and major climate and energy legislation (to pick just two items caught in the Senate logjam), Obama and his team would be hailed for the best opening year since Roosevelt.

In other words, the one place most in need of a personnel change is not in the White House or even in the executive branch, it is in the Senate Democratic Leadership. Harry Reid had a 10 vote majority and he couldn’t get anything done. The one switcheroo Obama should be focusing on is right there in the Majority Leader’s office. Harry Reid, who is facing a tough re-election challenge, may be a great guy with an inspiring personal story but the proof is in the pudding and in his case, the pudding is really a stale dog’s breakfast of excuses, back-peddling, and inability to control his own party.

Two things will be required to fix this. First, Reid must be replaced. And while the likely next-in-line Dick Durbin is a favorite throughout the party (despite also hailing from the swamp of Illinois politics), this is not a job that needs another nice guy. Searching for the kind of strong leadership Obama knows he needs, it may be time to satisfy the exceptional ambition of Durbin’s DC roommate, Chuck Schumer. He’s the only one with a shot at becoming a Lyndon Johnson-like, master of the Senate. But, he will only be able to do that — and remember he’s likely to have much less majority than Reid has to play with — with the active, risk-taking, leaderly support of the president himself. That’s a one-two punch that might get something done … and it really is the one personnel issue that should be getting the most attention in DC circles these days.