Congress must bridge the partisan divide and use common sense to fix the nation’s problems, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., told a joint meeting of the Nevada Legislature on Thursday.
“In order for Congress to do its part in turning the Nevada economy around, Democrats and Republicans must work together,” the Carson City resident said. “Washington has gotten into the habit of prioritizing their party above everything else.”
He said that instead, members of the Senate and House must adopt a common-sense approach to issues, disavowing partisan labels.
“It doesn’t make any sense to support or oppose any legislation based on the labor it’s wrapped in,” Heller said.
Heller said it isn’t so much how much government there is, but how that government is run.
“It comes down to reasonable government, reasonable regulations and reasonable taxes,” he said. “Unfortunately, it seems at times Washington is the place where reasonable common-sense initiatives come to die.”
He said the fact that this year, for the first time in four years, both the Senate and House have passed a budget gives him hope.
But, Heller said, “both these proposals are highly partisan.”
“I had high hopes this would be an opportunity for a grand deal. Instead, these plans are getting caught up in the politics of the day. Rather than serving as productive tools for long-term solutions, they are being tarnished by partisan bickering and grandstanding,” he said.
That must end, Heller said, because “our nation depends on it; the future of our children and grandchildren demands it.”
Heller made it clear he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and will oppose anything that jeopardizes the fundamental right to bear arms.
“At the same time, we must take care to keep guns out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill,” he said. “But Congress should take on a larger issue. If Washington is not talking about the violence in movies, television and video games, then what are we going? If the conversation is only about guns, then this entire conversation is only about politics.”
He said he also will continue working to advocate for veterans, including protecting their TriCare health benefits from any cuts.
“We cannot allow our state’s veterans to pay higher costs for less care,” Heller said.
Finally, he said he will do everything possible to prevent the sage grouse from being listed as endangered, which he said would jeopardize Nevada’s ranching and mining industries, way of life and economic recovery.
The speech lasted 21 minutes — double the length of Rep. Mark Amodei’s speech earlier in the week.