Heller’s Negation

Dean Heller’s latest launch on my TV machine is a negative commercial about Rep. Jacky Rosen’s lack of a legislative record.  “Zero” is an attempt to demonstrate Heller’s acumen and influence on Capitol Hill?  Whoa Nelly.  His 2017 “Report Card” is in and I’m not all that impressed with what he has done.  Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Heller wrote S. 42, which passed as H.R. 321, which required NASA to develop a plan for retired NASA personnel to engage with girls in STEM subjects.  Nice.  Notice the “develop a plan” portion.  If you like cotton candy at the carnival, then you’d probably like the Congressional version of this floss — legislation calling for Plans to do good stuff.  Not that there’s funding to do the good stuff, or that there’s a deadline for doing the good stuff except to call for a report to a congressional committee within 90 days of enactment.  It’s better than Zero, but not by much.

Heller seems especially fond of citing S. 114, a VA Choice Act allowing veterans to seek medical treatment at private facilities if the treatment wasn’t available at a VA center. Again, nice, but this idea isn’t original with Senator Heller.  The program was in existence BEFORE Senator Heller wrote the extension bill.  There’s another little problem with this bill — the funding.  Objections to this bill were raised at the time, from both sides of the aisle because the funding for the program extension came by moving money from other current VA programs.  Rob Peter to pay Paul much?

I’d recommend readers take a hard look at S. 327, an esoteric bill about ETF reports, authored by Senator Heller.  Americans for Financial Reform opposed this bill, in part because:

AFR opposes S. 327, “The Fair Access to Investment Research Act”, and we urge a vote against this bill. S. 327 would create major new exemptions to rules governing broker-dealer research reports on exchange traded funds (ETFs). These exemptions would permit ETF sponsors to release research designed to promote their funds, without being covered by legal liability for false or misleading content or other standards designed to ensure accurate information for investors.

I’d highly recommend downloading and reading the pdf version of the AFR testimony on S. 327, in that it is one more shining example of Senator Heller’s proclivity for talking a good game about being opposed to bank bailouts, while doing everything in his power to facilitate ample rewards for financiers.   In other words, what Senator Heller’s bill actually does is allow ETF sponsors to release reports which may not be accurate and which may primarily serve to manipulate the markets.   Less than Zero would have been a good score on this one.

If this is an example of what Senator Heller’s doing to get Something Done, then I’d have been just as happy for him to have been a nice comfortable zero, since watering down Sarbanes-Oxley, dismantling Dodd Frank, and getting past the Volcker Rule seem to be Senator Heller’s priorities.   I’ve not been calling him the “Banker’s Boy” for nothing.

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