Really? Senator By Appointment Only™ Dean Heller on Governor Romney’s remarks to the infamous fundraising dinner: “Keep in mind, I have five brothers and sisters. My father was an auto mechanic. My mother was a school cook. I have a very different view of the world,” Heller said. “And as United States Senator, I think I represent everyone, and every vote’s important. Every vote’s important in this race. I don’t write off anybody.” [HuffPo]
Senator Heller’s not written off anyone? Ever? His voting record implies another perspective — one much closer to Governor Romney’s than Senator Heller would be enthusiastic about admitting.
Remember S-CHIP? The SCHIP program provides health insurance coverage to middle class families who do not meet requirements for programs depending on poverty designations, and who have seriously ill or injured children. In short, it was designed to prevent lower middle income families from going bankrupt trying to provide health care for their children.
However, in the interest of “fiscal responsibility,” Representative Heller voted against any expansion of the program — paid for in the legislation by an increase in cigarette taxes: “But there is little expectation Heller will change his mind. He said he thinks he will be lobbied in the coming weeks but won’t support the legislation unless the program is pared to its existing level. Heller said in August, ” This Congress is seeking to create a massive and unnecessary federally funded health program.” [LVSun Oct 2007]
Representative Heller continued to vote against the expansion of the children’s health insurance program in 2009. On January 14, 2009 he voted against the CHIP reauthorization. [roll call 16] As he had voted to sustain the Bush Administration veto of the bill in 2008. [DB] Not to put too fine a point to it, but then-Representative Dean Heller was perfectly happy to write off middle income Nevada families in favor of so-called ‘fiscal responsibility’ and the interests of the tobacco lobby.
Remember the Pell Grants? Senator Heller hasn’t been supportive of middle income families whose children need financial assistance to go to college. Perhaps he believes along with Governor Romney that a person should get all the education he can afford – and no more?
“In February 2011, Heller voted for a Republican spending bill that would have drastically lowered the amount of aid that 9.4 million college students receive. Under the bill, students would see their Pell Grants fall by an average of $845 (from the current maximum of $5,550 to $4,705). [CBPP, 3/1/11; HR 1, Vote 147, 2/19/11]” [link]
Remember the Student Loan Rate? The one that was set to double last Summer for middle income students or those who were trying to secure the middle income status by getting a degree…
May 24, 2012: “In a Senate vote today, Dean Heller voted against a measure to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling in July. Heller’s vote today would force over 26,000 Nevada students to pay an average of $1,000 more next year in interest for student loans, putting an extra burden on the budgets of millions of middle-class families across the country. While Heller voted today to double interest rates for Nevadans trying to obtain an education…” [link] [vote 113]
Voting to tack on another $1000 to the student loan bills for millions of middle class families sounds like a write off from this perspective.
Remember the HAMP vote? The underfunded HAMP program sought to allow homeowners who were not unemployed to get assistance with mortgage modification. On March 29, 2011, Representative Heller voted in favor of eliminating the program (H.R. 839). [VoteSmart]
Remember Wall Street Reform? The middle class in America took the brunt of the Housing Bubble collapse, for the logical reason that the wealth of most middle income Americans is tied up in the value of their homes. The Dodd Frank Act sought to (1) prevent regulator shopping by financial institutions, (2) prevent abuse in the trade of derivatives, (3) provide oversight of banking institutions to prevent the need for bail outs, (4) separate commercial and investment banking to prevent conflicts of interest, and (5) prevent unscrupulous mortgage generators from preying on middle income home-buyers — and on June 30, 2010 Representative Dean Heller voted against it. [Vote No. 413] His rationale was particularly specious. [DB]
It’s also instructive to look at those groups Senator Heller has NOT written off –
Big Oil: Heller Has Voted At Least NINE Times To Protect Tax Credits For Big Oil Companies. [Vote 63, 3/29/12; Vote 72, 5/17/11; Vote #153, 3/01/11; Vote 649, 9/26/08; Vote 78, 2/27/08; Vote 80, 2/27/08; Vote 1140, 12/06/07; Vote 835, 8/4/07; Vote 40, 1/18/07]
Health Insurance Corporations, Drug Companies: Senator Heller has proven himself to be the health insurance corporations BFF, and he proved his loyalty to the pharmaceutical industry by voting against H.R. 4, on January 12, 2007, to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug manufacturers for lower prices. [VoteSmart]
The Bigger the Better [ExaminerLV]
Pious recitals of family history and protestations of concern are insufficient in Senator Heller’s case to offset the voting record he has compiled in Washington, D.C. Paying lip service to the concerns of middle income Nevadans in regard to health care, education, financial reform, mortgage modification, and promoting alternative energy investment and jobs in Nevada, while voting against measures designed to promote those interests says far more about Senator Heller’s allegiances than his flight from the candidacy of Governor Romney.
These issues are further explored in “It’s not about the candidate…” which is well worth the click ‘n read.