Why It’s Important to Vote in Mid-Term Elections!

I don’t know what Sen. Dean Heller has done (or not done) in Washington, but clearly, he’s not just disliked at home in Nevada. On Sunday’s 60 Minutes, Breitbart’s Steve Bannon let the world know that he has put Heller first and foremost on his “Enemies List” pretty much making him the #1 most vulnerable Senator in the 2018 race for re-election.

While a number of Democrats are considering a run for the seat, including Rep. Dina Titus and Rep. Jacky Rosen, Nevada’s perennial candidate, Danny Tarkanian has stepped up to the plate yet again.  If anything, Tarkanian has proven yet again WHY it’s important that every single Democrat makes it to the polls in 2018 to vote for someone who will actually represent Nevadans, not every whim of President Trump.

Tarkanian appeared on “The Beat with Ari Melber” on MSNBC on Monday, 9/11/2017.  Take a moment to watch his performance.  I don’t know about you, but that’s NOT who I want representing my interests in the U.S. Senate:

DACA Under Siege by Trump and AG Jeff Sessions

Last week, Trump pardoned Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a notorious national symbol of racism who refused court orders to stop his racial profiling in his zealous multi-year campaign of persecution against Latino communities. Now, one week later, Trump is throwing MORE red meat to his anti-immigrant and white supremacist supporters by going after immigrant kids, once again undermining American values in order to feed the bigotry of his extreme base. 

This morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced to the world that we, as a nation, can no longer be trusted to keep its word, that our word is no longer our bond. You see, in a stunning act of cruelty even for Trump, he had Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce termination of key parts of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program effective six months from now, upending the lives of 800,000+ young people. That 

DACA recipients – often referred to as DREAMers — were brought to the US as children and for many of them this is the only country they’ve ever really known. Under the DACA program, they registered with the government and passed background checks in exchange for being able to work, pay taxes, and feel secure in their homes without the fear of deportation.

Many on the anti-immigrant Right who have been fighting against DACA since Day One have focused their criticism on the way in which it was done – with an executive order by President Obama. They have claimed that the real problem was just that Congress didn’t pass the law – so now it’s up to Congress to call their bluff and pass the DREAM Act.

Congress needs to act now to protect our investment in their education and assimilation before Trump releases his hordes of ICE thugs to begin deportation of DREAMers as their 2-yr authorizations come up for  renewals. And we even have a head start, because the bill already has bipartisan support!

Congress can undo this outrage by passing the DREAM Act of 2017, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants who graduate from US high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program.

In the Senate, the DREAM Act is sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) … we need to demand that the Senate make this bipartisan bill a priority, to get relief to the DREAMers who need it.

Petition:  << Tell Congress to PASS the DREAM Act of 2017 without delay! >>

Or, better yet, take a moment from your day and call or write your members of Congress and ask them to expedite bringing the Dream Act of 2017 [ House bill#:  H.R.3440 / Senate bill#: S.1615 ] to the floor for a vote AND to vote for its passage:

Mid-Term Senate Races Matter: Heller’s High Water

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) released the below statement after a right-leaning federal judge in Texas nullified the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor overtime rule.

“The former Obama Administration’s expansion of the federal overtime rule would have devastated Nevada’s business owners and job creators. Since the rule was issued last year, I have been strongly concerned about its impact because it would fundamentally change how employers compensate their workers, reducing Nevadans’ work hours and benefits. I’m pleased to see that a federal judge acknowledged the regulation’s harmful consequences and ruled it invalid today,” Heller said. “Today’s news is a relief for countless Nevada businesses and employers, and I commend Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt for his leadership in this fight.”

Heller has worked tirelessly at undermining the Obama-era overtime rule aimed at leveling the playing field for workers. Instead, he’s worked to bolster the bottom line of his corporate benefactors. Don’t believe me?  As evidence —

  • In February 2016 he wrote to Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez about this rule and what he claimed would be its negative impacts on corporations in the state of Nevada.
  • In March 2016, he followed up with yet another letter highlighting his concerns over the new policy change.
  • In the Senate, Heller expressed concerns with his Senate colleagues by writing to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related Agencies Chairman Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray.

Heller also cosponsored S. 2707, the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, in the 114th Congress, legislation that would have cancelled the proposed DOL regulation to increase the salary threshold for workers eligible to receive overtime pay and require impact studies for future proposals of related rules.

Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act

S.2707 declared that the proposed or the final rule of the Department of Labor entitled “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees” shall cease to have any force or effect. The rule revises the “white collar” exemption of executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees from minimum wage and maximum hour, or overtime, requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).

If the proposed rule is a final rule on the date of enactment of S.2707:

  • the Dept of Labor would have been prohibited from enforcing it based on conduct occurring before that enactment date,
  • an employee would not have any right of action against an employer for the employer’s failure to comply with the final rule at any time before that enactment date,
  • any regulations that were amended by the final rule would have been restored and revived as if the final rule had never taken effect, and
  • nothing in S.2707 would have been construed to create a right of action for an employer against an employee for the recoupment of any payments made to the employee before the enactment of this bill that were in compliance with that final rule.

It also specified that the Dept of Labor could promulgate any substantially similar rule only if it had completed certain required actions; but any new rule could not contain any automatic updates to the salary threshold for purposes of exemptions to minimum wage and maximum hour requirements under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act).

The requirement that definitions applicable for such exemptions be defined and delimited from time to time by Labor regulations would have been construed to:

  • require Labor to issue a new rule through notice and comment rule-making for each change in any salary threshold it has proposed (creating more expensive and elongated rule-making processes); and
  • exclude any rule that would result in changes to any salary threshold for multiple time periods, including through any automatic updating procedure.

The Dept of Labor was also prohibited from promulgating any final rule that included any revision to duties tests for exemption from minimum wage and maximum hours requirements unless specific regulatory text for the provision was proposed in the proposed rule.

For clarity, here is the background on that “Final Rule” and what it did for WORKERS:

In 2014, President Obama directed the Department of Labor to update and modernize the regulations governing the exemption of executive, administrative, and professional (“EAP”) employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or “Act”). The Department published a notice of proposed rulemaking on July 6, 2015, and received more than 270,000 comments. On May 18, 2016, the Department announced that it will publish a Final Rule to update the regulations. The full text of the Final Rule will be available at the Federal Register Site.

Although the FLSA ensures minimum wage and overtime pay protections for most employees covered by the Act, some workers, including bona fide EAP employees, are exempt from those protections. Since 1940, the Department’s regulations have generally required each of three tests to be met for the FLSA’s EAP exemption to apply:

  1. the employee must be paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (“salary basis test”);
  2. the amount of salary paid must meet a minimum specified amount (“salary level test”); and
  3. the employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties as defined by the regulations (“duties test”).

The Department last updated these regulations in 2004, when it set the weekly salary level at $455 ($23,660 annually) and made other changes to the regulations, including collapsing the short and long duties tests into a single standard duties test and introducing a new exemption for highly compensated employees.

This Final Rule updates the salary level required for exemption to ensure that the FLSA’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented, and to simplify the identification of overtime-protected employees, thus making the EAP exemption easier for employers and workers to understand and apply. Without intervening action by their employers, it extends the right to overtime pay to an estimated 4.2 million workers who are currently exempt. It also strengthens existing overtime protections for 5.7 million additional white collar salaried workers and 3.2 million salaried blue collar workers whose entitlement to overtime pay will no longer rely on the application of the duties test.

* Key Provisions of the Final Rule *
The Final Rule focused primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for EAP workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

  1. Set the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South, which is $913 per week or $47,476 annually for a full-year worker;
  2. Set the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally, which is $134,004; and
  3. Established a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

Additionally, the Final Rule amended the salary basis test to allow employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level. The Final Rule made no changes to the duties tests.

Effective Date
The effective date of the Final Rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Senator Heller espouse and promote a nationwide move such as that just made by the Missouri GOP-led legislature which lowered the minimum wage from $10/hr to $7.70/hr (or, from $20, 800/yr to $16,016/yr for Missouri citizens.

Afterall, Senator Heller has made it exceedingly clear that he represents only his corporate benefactors and is a firm believer and double-downer in a failed trickle-down philosophy.

“Congress is ready to address tax reform, and that’s why I’m encouraged by the President’s comments today about bringing tax relief to all Americans. Nevada’s hardworking families and small business owners have been waiting for a simpler, fairer tax code for years now, and Congress and the White House are poised to make that happen,” Heller said. “I was honored to host Secretary Mnuchin earlier this week in Las Vegas for a meeting with Nevada employers and the message we received from these business leaders was clear – lowering rates will help boost the economy, create jobs and increase wages. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I’m looking forward to working with the Administration on this issue and having a seat at the table to make sure that the final product is what’s best for Nevada.”

Mid-term elections matter and we cannot let Dean Heller get re-elected to the Senate, nor can we let AG Laxalt get elected to the Governorship of Nevada.

Related Posts:

Be Sure to Thank Sen. Dean Heller for NO Health Insurance Choices

— by Anjeanette Damon

News has broken that Anthem will stop offering health plans under the Affordable Care Act in nearly all of Nevada’s rural counties, specifically blaming the uncertainty caused by the Republican health care plan in the U.S. Senate. Roughly 8,000 rural Nevadans will lose their access to insurance, with no alternatives to buy a different plan on the exchange. Prominence also decided to pull out of the state’s exchange entirely.

From Stewart Boss, Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson: “Nevada families are already feeling the harmful effects of the Republican health care agenda in Washington, and Senator Heller – who has voted 20 times to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act – is a major part of the problem. The uncertainty and instability caused by Dean Heller and Senate Republicans continuing their efforts to pass their toxic health care plan, combined with the GOP’s efforts to disrupt the exchanges, is now creating havoc in Nevada’s rural counties. The thousands of Nevadans who will lose their health care plans or lose access to health insurance through the exchange have Dean Heller and Donald Trump to blame for this turmoil.”

Reno Gazette-Journal: BREAKING: Rural Nevada to lose all Obamacare plans next year

 

NOW is THE Time!

We’re in danger of losing our health care. The Senate is inching closer to passing a devastating health care bill. If they do, then millions of people will see their health care coverage disappear. But you can do something about it.

Nevada is particularly important in the fight to save our health care. Why? Because our senator, Dean Heller, is a deciding vote on the Senate bill.

You have a critical part to play, and there is no time to waste. As a constituent, you have the power to influence Senator Heller’s vote on health care.

The over 600,000 Nevadans who rely on Medicaid would be most adversely affected as Nevada is poised to lose approximately $5 billion in federal Medicaid funds by 2028 if the Senate health care bill passes. This would harm 300,000 children, 13,000 seniors, and 42,000 people with disabilities in Nevada.

But that’s only what we actually know today.  Are you insured through an employer plan?  You do know that employers shop insurers country-wide for the best policy prices they can find, right?  Have you heard this bill allows States to seek waivers of  EHBs (Essential Health Benefits, like maternity coverage, ER visits, Xrays,  cancer screenings, etc.)?  What do you think will happen to the healthcare insurance coverage you now have once your employer, like everyone else’s employer starts shopping “EHB-waivered” states for their insurance policies to save money, while holding what you pay constant or even charging you a larger percentage of the cost, all to pad their bottom line?

  • Read the over-glorious summary from the Senate Budget Committee glossing over the dreadful impacts.
  • Browse the actual bill text.
  • View a section by section summary by the Congressional Research Service here.

TrumpedUpCare harms us all and we can’t let that happen!  The clock is ticking with an expected vote no later than next  Thursday.  Call Senator Heller’s offices today and often (call all of them).  Let him know that if he takes a meat cleaver to our healthcare, he might as well take a meat cleaver to his 2018 campaign, because he’s done!

202-224-6244 (DC)
702-388-6605 (LV)
775-686-5770 (Reno)
775-738-2001 (Elko)

Term: 2013-2018

Press Releases from NV Dems

Getting straight — A rough week for Dean Heller
Dean Heller Still Wants to Repeal the ACA
Heller getting a bit bipolar about Planned Parenthood funding
Heller Cheerleading Trump Attacks on Nevada’s National Monuments
How Does the Senator Explain That?
A complete and total disaster

Senate passed bill reversing FCC privacy rules for internet service providers

Senator Dean Heller voted to take the side of corporate communication giants like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T over the side of privacy for his Nevada constituents.  “This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy, on rules that afford basic protection against intrusive and illegal interference with consumers’ use of social media sites and websites that often they talk for granted,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said ahead ofthe Senate vote.  Clearly Senator Dean Heller didn’t listen to those words.

Reputlican “corporatists” are using the Congressional Review Act to pretty much gut any regulation put in place during the Obama administration that gets in their way to making profits hand over fist.  So, this last week, corporatists in the Senate took the lead on CRA resolutions, passing a resolution (S.J. Res. 34 ) which disapproves of  an FCC rule concerning privacy rules for internet service providers, gutting those rules on a pure partisan party line vote (50 Republican Yeas, 48 Democrat Nays).

Republican corporatists in the Senate voted to undo FCC’s broadband privacy rules. If also passed in the House and signed by the president, S.J. Res. 34 will make sure the FCC can not interfere with internet service providers (ISPs) being able to sell user data, including browsing history and location data, without user consent. The bill promoting the communications giants’ agenda now heads to the House.

So How is Heller NOT Representing Nevadans w/DT at the Helm?

The answer?  Not very well I’m afraid.  Regardless of the number of phone calls and the fact that his line is full and that they’ve turned on the answering machines instead of taking calls, he’s taking his marching orders from elsewhere.  Here, see what I mean?

In One Night, the GOP Voted to Take Away These Essential Health Benefits

Republican Grim Reapers just showed us exactly where they stand!

Grim Reaper Squad Vice President-elect Mike Pence, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso (Reince Priebus at right rear)CREDIT: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

— by Melissa Boteach and Jeremy Slevin (with embellishments from this site’s editor)

Last night while you were sleeping, the Senate debated and ultimately passed a budget resolution that provides a pathway for Republicans to strip health care coverage away from 30 million Americans without having a single Democratic vote.

As the Senate debated the resolution that provides a blueprint to repeal the Affordable Care Act, both Republicans and Democrats had the opportunity to offer a flurry of rapid-fire amendments in a process known as “vote-a-rama” where a 3/5 vote (60 votes) were required for passage. While these votes are non-binding, the exercise provides an opportunity for senators to show where their colleagues stand on a number of key issues. And the results are not pretty.

Senate Republicans took several votes that showed they are not on your side. Last night, Republicans voted against amendments that would:

  1. Protect people with pre-existing conditions — REJECTED
    Republicans blocked an amendment that would have made it harder to take away coverage from Americans with preexisting medical conditions. 52 million people — about 1 in 4 non-elderly Americans — have preexisting conditions. These Americans are more likely to face significant health costs, and before the Affordable Care Act, were often denied coverage entirely. The amendment also would have protected coverage for people disabilities or chronic health conditions, and prevent plans from discriminating based on health. Republicans currently have no alternative plan to insure people with preexisting conditions. Only two Republicans — Maine’s Susan Collins and Nevada’s Dean Heller — voted for the amendment (Roll Call Vote #15, Rejected 49-49, Heller voted YEA).
  2. Let young adults stay on their parents’ plan — REJECTED
    Republicans blocked an amendment by Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Roll Call Vote #12, Heller voted NAY) that would have made it easier young people to stay on their parents’ health care plan until they are 26 — one of the most popular and effective provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Over 6 million young adults have gained health insurance since the law was implemented in 2010, and young Americans now report better physical and mental health. The provision is also overwhelmingly popular — 85 percent favor keeping young people on their parents’ insurance plans.
  3. Maintain access to contraceptive coverage— REJECTED
    Thanks to Obamacare, birth control is more affordable than ever. Spending on contraceptive health care has gone down by 20 percent since the Affordable Care Act took effect. An amendment by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sought to continue this momentum. Unsurprisingly, Republicans blocked the provision 49–49. Sens. Collins and Heller both voted with Democrats. (Roll Call Vote #23, Heller voted YEA)
  4. Ensure Medicaid expansion stays in place— REJECTED
    Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act benefited 11 million low-income Americans in 2015 alone and has created thousands of jobs for direct care workers. An amendment by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) would have sought to continue Medicaid expansion, but it was blocked by Republicans — 48–50 (Roll Call Vote # 18, Heller voted YEA).
  5. Protect children on Medicaid or CHIP— REJECTED
    Republicans blocked an amendment offered by Senator Brown (D-OH) that would make it harder to ensure children could keep their health coverage on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both of which provide comprehensive health care services for children including key preventive and developmental care.  Sens. Heller and Collins were the only two senators who bucked their party on the Sen. Brown amendment (Roll Call Vote #25Heller voted YEA)
  6. Protect veterans’ health care— REJECTED
    Republicans blocked an amendment by Sen. Tester (D-MT) that would have made it harder to restrict veterans’ ability to access VA health care. While Democrats have sought to provide better funding and health care access at the VA, Donald Trump has proposed eliminating the Veterans Administration altogether through privatization. A poll in 2015 found that almost two-thirds of survey respondents oppose plans to replace VA health care with a voucher system, an idea backed by many Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates. (Roll Call Vote #14, Heller voted YEA)

Republicans say they want to replace Obamacare with something better. But in just one night’s votes, they indicated that they are not willing to take a stand to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions, women, children, veterans, young adults, people with disabilities, and struggling families can continue to access the affordable coverage they need going forward.


Melissa Boteach is the Vice President of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), and Jeremy Slevin is the Associate Director of Advocacy for the same program. ThinkProgress is an editorially independent site housed at CAPAF.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter


To view the entirety of the vote-arama session, click on the  “CONGRESS”  link in the header.  Open up tab for the Senate 115th session.

To get an idea of what else you’ll find there are a number of amendments that would have protected Medicaid, Medicare AND Social Security Benefits as well as provisions for Rural Hospitals (like the one in Winnemucca):

  • Roll Call Vote #5 – REJECTED (Heller voted YEA): To strengthen Social Security and Medicare without raiding it to pay for new Government programs, like Obamacare, that have failed Americans by increasing premiums and reducing affordable health care options, to reform Medicaid without prioritizing able-bodied adults over the disabled, and to return regulation of insurance to State governments.
  • Roll Call Vote #6 – REJECTED (Heller voted NAY ): Bernie Sanders Amdt: To prevent the Senate from breaking Donald Trump’s promise that “there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
  • Roll Call Vote #7  – REJECTED (Heller voted NAY): To create a point of order against legislation that would repeal health reforms that closed the prescription drug coverage gap under Medicare.
  • Roll Call Vote #10 – REJECTED (Heller voted YEA):  To create a point of order against legislation that would harm rural hospitals and health care providers.
  • Roll Call Vote#20 – REJECTED (Heller voted YEA): To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to lower prescription drug prices for Americans by importing drugs from Canada.

Roll Call Vote 26, which required only 51 votes for passage to pass the concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2017 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2018 through 2026, was indeed passed an agreed to.  That budget defunds the Affordable Care Act, and strips all funding within that bill that strengthened and extended the viability of Medicare making it easier for Republicans to defend their stance that it needs to be completely reformed and privatized.  Senator Heller voted FOR passage of S.Con.Res 3 which will defund healthcare.  Thus, his vote-arama “point-of-order” votes appear to be just for show so he can claim he supports healthcare, but when it came down to party allegiances, he clearly voted against his Nevada constituents.

#NRA Class of 2016 with Scholarship Donations

Have you ever wondered why the GOP Senate continually sides with the NRA on all gun-related proposed legislation, and against well over a majority of their constituents, Democrat, Republican and Independents? They’ve been bought, including Nevada’s own Sen. Dean Heller (to the tune of a $122,000 scholarship from the NRA)!

NRA-Class-of-2016