Thursday, July 1, 2010 | 1:54 p.m.
U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Carson City, yesterday voted in favor of the House bill to extend unemployment benefits, despite his history of voting against most Democratic-backed economic measures.
Heller made a name for himself last year and in 2008 by voting against the stimulus package and against the bank bailouts, earning praise from voters in his heavily Republican district.
But today, when it came down to preserving unemployment benefits for a state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation, he voted with the Democrats.
The bill passed the House today, but failed the Senate last night.
Heller’s vote is also significant in that it represents a significant parting with the stated position of Sharron Angle, his party’s nominee to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Angle said she would have voted against the unemployment benefits extension, arguing the prolonged benefit creates a disincentive for people to return to work.
Heller opted against running against Reid, despite intense pressure from national Republicans to do so. He also was nearly defeated by Angle in the GOP primary for his seat in 2006.
So, it will be interesting to see how aggressively he campaigns for Angle this year. He was one of the first to send out a press release endorsing her. But with that out of the way, maybe he won’t do much more.
NOTE: This post has been corrected to reflect the House vote occurred today.