Excuse Me? Where Were You Mr. Heller?

At the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke about the No Budget, No Pay Act.

“President Obama’s most recent State of the Union address marked one thousand days since the U.S. Senate passed a binding budget resolution.  Since Congress last passed a budget, the federal government has spent $9.4 trillion, adding $4.1 trillion in debt. 

“…Members of Congress are willfully refusing to put our nation on a path to long-term fiscal responsibility.  As long as this is the case, Americans will continue to be frustrated and angry with Washington’s inability to produce real results. 

“…This legislation requires that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives pass a budget and all appropriations bills by the beginning of each fiscal year.  Failure to do so would result in the loss of pay until Congress takes its job seriously.  If Congress does not complete its constitutional duties, then its Members should not be paid

“…My hope is that No Budget, No Pay will be adopted as part of a broader effort to change the way Congress does business and restore the confidence of the American people in their government…”

Is that right?  I have a question, Mr. Heller.  Where the heck were you throughout the Bush years?  Then President Bush took a vibrant economy, a budget surplus that was gradually consuming lesser percentages of GDP and a national debt of only $5,662,216,013,697 … and drove that economy to just short of a full-blown depression and a national debt of $10,699,804,864,612, an increase of 89%.  In case you’re not all that good at math (as evidenced by the recent GOP caucuses and their inabilities to count the votes) … that means the GOP administration of George W. Bush spent $5,037,588,850,915, borrowing from anyone willing to loan the USA money.  Essentially, your team increased the debt per capita from $20,067/person to $35,153.  You sir were a member of George Bush’s Congress.  You voted for the repeal of financial regulations, for repeals of taxes (revenue needed to pay the bills as they come due) and for spending increases that ultimately drove our economy over the cliff.

Yes, the Obama administration has had to spend money to prevent the nation from completely falling into the abyss of no return.  Beginning with a debt of $10,699,804,864,612, debt rose to $12,311,349,677,512 by 12/31/2009 (15%).  By12/31/2010 it had risen to $14,025,215,218,709 (14%) and by 12/31/2011 to $15,125,898,976,397 (8%),  That’s an overall 41% increase in our nation’s debt, and that rate of increase is declining.  The amount of accumulated debt would have begun to decline had the GOP been able to actively work toward a grand bargain with the President and Democratic members in Congress, but the GOP were too fearful of bullies such as Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist, and Karl Rove.  Instead of doing your jobs, you and other GOP members cowered in fear that one of the bullies would speak badly of you or that you might be primaried and lose your job.  Instead of fighting for millions of Americans that the GOP’s policies and spending habits put out on the street and out of any hope of a job, you toed the Republican Party line.

How dare you now play the puffer?  You sir are a considerable part of the problem and your solutions would now be to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the infirm, and women, all while stroking the feathers of your war-hawk as you contemplate voting for entry into yet another unwarranted foreign war with Iran.  You sir, are disgraceful.

Heller Amendment is an assault on Medicare, Social Security, and Veterans benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2011
Contact: Jessica Mackler
702.723.7987

BERKLEY, NV SENIORS & VETERANS SLAM DEAN HELLER’S ANTI-SENIORS BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT

Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley hosted a press conference call today with Alliance for Retired Americans Political Director Rich Fiesta and Nevada seniors and veterans to slam Dean Heller for his so-called Balanced Budget Amendment which would gut Medicare, Social Security, and veterans benefits.

“Families across Nevada are tightening their belts, the United States government should do the same,” said Berkley. “However, Dean Heller’s approach is wrong for Nevada. His Balanced Budget Amendment calls for massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits, yet Big Oil Executives and corporations that ship American jobs overseas aren’t asked to sacrifice one penny. But what do you expect from someone who said he was proud to be the only member of Congress to vote twice for a budget plan that the Wall Street Journal said “essentially ends Medicare”.

“This is nothing but a direct attack on Medicare, Social Security, and veterans benefits,” said Rich Fiesta with the Alliance for Retired Americans. “And all this from a guy who said he was proud to be the only member of Congress to vote twice to end Medicare by turning it over to private insurance companies.”

“As a veteran, I know firsthand the struggles facing Nevada’s veterans, which is why I am outraged at Dean Heller’s assault on our nations veterans benefits,” said veteran and Las Vegas resident Rodney Smith.  “This so-called Balanced Budget Amendment would gut veterans benefits at a time when they most need help.  Unlike Dean Heller, Shelley has the right priorities and will fight tooth and nail to protect the benefits for those who have served their country.”

“Even more outrageous than Dean Heller voting multiple times to kill Medicare by putting my healthcare into the hands of private insurance companies, he actually says he is proud of doing so,” said Sun City Anthem senior citizen Zelda Weingard. “And while Dean Heller has no problem cutting spending on the backs of our state’s senior citizens, his concern over the deficit evaporates when he votes to protect special interests taxpayer giveaways. That’s why I’m supporting Shelley Berkley.  Her priorities are creating jobs and protecting Medicare, not supporting a reckless agenda that throws Nevada seniors under the bus to protect oil company executives.”

Background:

GOP Balanced Budget Amendment Would Cut $1.2 Trillion From Social Security And About $750 Billion From Medicare Through 2021. In November 2011 the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote, “The constitutional balanced budget amendment that the House is expected to consider this week could force Congress to cut all programs by an average of 17.3 percent by 2018.  If revenues are not raised (the House-passed budget resolution assumes no increase above current-policy levels) and all programs are cut by the same percentage, Social Security would be cut $184 billion in 2018 alone and almost $1.2 trillion through 2021; Medicare would be cut $117 billion in 2018 and about $750 billion through 2021; and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would be cut $80 billion in 2018 and about $500 billion through 2021.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/15/11]

GOP Balanced Budget Amendment Would Cut $85 Billion From Veterans’ Disability Payments, Compensation Through 2021.According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the GOP’s proposed balanced budget amendment would  cut “veterans’ disability payments, compensation, and other entitlement benefits” by $85 billion through 2021 if revenues are not raised. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/15/11]

Wall Street Journal: GOP Plan Would “End Medicare.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal4/04/11]

In May 2011, Heller Said He Was Proud To Be The Only Member of Congress Who Will Get to Vote for Budget Twice. “I’m not worried about it. I voted for it once. I’m not going to come over here and vote against it,” Heller said. “I’m proud to be the only member of Congress who will get to vote for it twice.” [AP, 5/03/11]

Heller Said He Planned to Campaign on the Republican Budget. According to the Review-Journal, Heller “said he plans to vote for it and to campaign on it as a strategy to regain control of spending, reduce the deficit and spark economic growth.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal4/05/11]

SENATE: Heller Voted for House GOP Budget Blueprint Drafted By Paul Ryan. In May 2011, Heller voted for a motion to proceeds to the House Republican budget blueprint drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The House-passed Republican budget plan would address the debt problem by making sweeping cuts to the federal budget, while overhauling Medicare and other federal entitlement programs for future seniors. The motion was rejected 40-57, with five Republicans voting no. [Washington Post5/25/11; Vote 77, 5/25/11]

Republican Plan Will Double Health Care Costs For Average Senior. The Republican plan to end Medicare will increase out-of-pocket health care costs for a typical 65 year-old senior by $6,359 in 2022 – more than double the cost under current law. [DPCC Fact Sheet]

Heller Voted At Least EIGHT Times to Protect Tax Credits for Big Oil Companies. [ Vote 72, 5/17/11Vote #153, 3/01/11; Las Vegas Review-Journal, 9/28/2008; 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]

Las Vegas Sun: Heller Didn’t “Have The Nerve To Stand Up To The Oil Companies.” In May 2011, the Las Vegas Sun ran an editorial on the failure of an effort by Senate Democrats to repeal tax breaks for the “big five” oil companies. “That move would have reduced the nation’s budget deficit by $20 billion. But the measure fell eight votes short of the 60 needed for passage. That’s because most Senate Republicans, including Dean Heller of Nevada, don’t have the nerve to stand up to the oil companies.” [Editorial, Las Vegas Sun, 5/19/11]

Heck/Amodei Vote for BBA + Cuts to Medicare, S/S & Vets Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2011
Contact: Zach Hudson, Comm. Dir., NSDP
(702) 737-8683

Las Vegas, NV – Rep. Joe Heck and career politician and lobbyist Rep. Mark Amodei continued their assault on Nevada seniors and veterans today when they voted for legislation that would gut Medicare, Social Security, and veterans benefits.  Of course, this isn’t the first time Heck and Amodei have thrown Nevada seniors under the buss.  Heck has repeatedly called Social Security a “pyramid scheme” and voted earlier this year for a Republican budget that kills Medicare by turning it over to private insurance companies.  While not in Congress at the time, Amodei called the GOP budget plan “excellent,” and that he would “cozy up to” the architect of the plan and give him “whatever support he needs.”

The legislation Heck and Amodei voted for today would cut $1.2 trillion from Social Security, $750 billion from Medicare, and $85 billion in veterans benefits in the next decade.  What’s their excuse?  The budget deficit.  Funny how their desire to reduce spending evaporates when they vote to protect taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil and tax breaks for corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

“Whether it’s Joe Heck voting to kill Medicare and calling Social Security a ‘pyramid scheme’, or Mark Amodei saying turning Medicare over to private insurance companies is ‘excellent’, Nevada seniors shouldn’t be surprised that both politicians voted again to gut Medicare and Social Security today,” said Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Zach Hudson.  “Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country but Heck and Amodei continue to focus on pulling the rug out from under Nevada’s seniors instead of getting Nevadans back to work.”

Background:

GOP Balanced Budget Amendment Would Cut $1.2 Trillion From Social Security And About $750 Billion From Medicare Through 2021. In November 2011 the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote, “The constitutional balanced budget amendment that the House is expected to consider this week could force Congress to cut all programs by an average of 17.3 percent by 2018.  If revenues are not raised (the House-passed budget resolution assumes no increase above current-policy levels) and all programs are cut by the same percentage, Social Security would be cut $184 billion in 2018 alone and almost $1.2 trillion through 2021; Medicare would be cut $117 billion in 2018 and about $750 billion through 2021; and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would be cut $80 billion in 2018 and about $500 billion through 2021.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/15/11]

GOP Balanced Budget Amendment Would Cut $85 Billion From Veterans’ Disability Payments, Compensation Through 2021.According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the GOP’s proposed balanced budget amendment would  cut “veterans’ disability payments, compensation, and other entitlement benefits” by $85 billion through 2021 if revenues are not raised. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/15/11]

Wall Street Journal: GOP Plan Would “End Medicare.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal4/04/11]

Amodei Said He Would Support Ryan Plan. When asked whether he would support the Ryan budget on the Bill Manders Show Amodei said, “Well Robert, I’ll tell you, generally, yes I will.” [Bill Manders Show, KKOH Radio 780 AM, 5/9/11]

Amodei Claimed Ryan’s Plan for Medicare Was “Excellent.” Amodei praised the Ryan blueprint. “I like a lot of what he has to say in terms of Medicare. I think that’s excellent.” [Politico, 6/20/11]

Amodei Said He Liked Ryan’s Medicare Plan. The Las Vegas Sun reported on the Ryan plan Amodei said, “I like a lot of what he has to say in terms of Medicare.” [Las Vegas Sun, 7/14/11]

Amodei Said He Would Give Paul Ryan Whatever Support He Needs. On the Ryan budget, Amodei said, “I need to cozy up to Paul Ryan and give him whatever support he needs.” [Las Vegas Sun, 7/14/11]

Amodei Said He Would Go Stand with Paul Ryan. When asked how he would deal with the federal deficit, Amodei said: “I would go with and stand up with Rep. Paul Ryan and say how do we do this.” He said, “If you’re going to balance the budget, you have to where the money is and that means entitlements and that means defense.” [Nevada Appeal, 6/19/11]