Las Vegas Sun

October 24, 2014

Currently: 85° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Damon Political Report

Heller reverses course on Republican budget, breaks with party to lodge ‘protest vote’

In an election year move, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., broke with many in his party Wednesday, voting against a Republican budget proposal that would have dramatically reshaped Medicare and cut trillions from the federal budget.

Heller, who twice before voted in favor of the Republican budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, described his vote as a protest against a showmanship process that was never meant to result in a new federal budget.

“Today’s votes were not a serious effort to pass a budget,” Heller said in a written statement. “After this charade, our nation is no closer to economic prosperity or addressing our massive national debt.”

Heller voted no on a series of five non-binding budget resolutions, including President Barack Obama’s budget plan, which was unanimously rejected by the Senate.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and Democrats also described the process as a charade, lodging their own protest votes.

“It’s almost universally acknowledged that Republican obstructionism has reached new heights in the Senate,” Reid said on the floor Wednesday. “Democrats would have to break a filibuster to declare the sky blue or the Earth round.”

But Heller’s budget votes also were a strategic campaign move, as he enters a pitched battle for his seat against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

Heller’s vote against the Ryan budget—which Democrats consistently point to in their argument that Republicans want to undermine Medicare—will allow him to counter an expected deluge of attacks from Berkley.

Heller also will use the vote to portray himself as willing to stand up to the silliness in Washington, D.C., even when that silliness is perpetrated by his own party. Indeed, Wednesday’s budget votes were a tactical maneuver by the GOP to force Democrats to vote on the various proposals.

Heller was one of five Republicans to vote against the Ryan budget, which was defeated 41 to 58.

The move also will keep voters guessing as to his real position on the Ryan budget. In his statement, Heller neglected to say equivocally whether his opinion has actually changed.

“I have voted on Republican budgets in the past,” Heller said. “It’s no secret where I stand.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 1 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. "But Heller's budget votes also were a strategic campaign move, as he enters a pitched battle for his seat against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev."

    Is that statement and the following paragraphs based on facts confirmed by Sen. Heller (or his office) or is it speculation?