Heller, Rosen Far Apart on Many Issues
Senator Dean Heller and Congresswoman Jacky Rosen sat down to talk about a number of issues facing Nevadans, including health care and Yucca Mountain.
Senator Dean Heller and Congresswoman Jacky Rosen are in a tight race to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate. Like many democrats and republicans, they have a lot of differences but they are both calling for more unity in Washington, D.C. to solve problems.
"Trying to talk about how we fix America's potholes, net neutrality, rural broadband, ports, roads and bridges, really important things that we agree on," Rosen, D-Nevada said.
"If it's a good idea, I don't care whose it is," Heller, R-Nevada said. "If it's a republican idea, a democrat idea, I'll work with democratic administrations and republican administrations to move this country forward."
Both agree that a health care plan should include people with pre-existing conditions. However, the two do not agree on much after that. Rosen wants to find ways to improve the Affordable Care Act, while Heller wants to repeal the ACA, saying premiums have been increasing since its passage. His proposal is to replace it with a plan that would give block grants to each state to decide how to handle its health care, and let people buy insurance across state lines.
"Allow for competition," Heller said. "If Utah has a better product than Nevada, people from Nevada should be able to go to Utah and buy their health care. Let's bring it down to the states and let the states decide. You've got a choice here when it comes to health care. You either believe in socialism or you believe in federalism. I believe in federalism. I believe the states can make the right decisions for their citizens and let's give them the opportunity to do that."
The individual mandate has been removed from the ACA, and many say that was a critical component to the plan. The Trump Administration is loosening restrictions on short-term health insurance. Rosen says she opposes those plans, saying deductibles are too high for many people.
"It's just another way they're trying to undermine and sabotage Americans' health," Rosen said. "If you give someone a junk plan, it's so expensive, maybe they first of all can't afford it, and what does it really cover?"
Issues over immigration persist, including the separation of families who cross the southern border illegally. Heller and Rosen oppose the policy of separating families. Initially, Heller was one of about a dozen republicans who sent a letter to Trump, urging him to end the policy. He recently sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General's Office, demanding updates on the reunification efforts.
"They're reunifying them now but I want constant updates," Heller said. "I want to know what the status is of the mount of children, perhaps parents, that have been separated from their families to make sure we get everybody back together."
Rosen says the issue begins and ends on the president's desk. She's working to find out how many separated families may be detained in Nevada.
"The uncertainty of when they're going to be reunited, what's going to happen to them, the capacity for them to have legal representation and services," Rosen said. "It all matters and this crisis is created by the president and he can change it in an instant. We don't need to continue to have these families separated. What we need to do is have this administration look at doing comprehensive immigration reform."
Rosen is critical of Heller's recent meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Heller says he talked to the judge about the Second, Fourth and Tenth Amendments. Kavanaugh has been criticized for his opinions regarding Yucca Mountain but Heller says he is confident that the judge's appointment would not affect his efforts to keep nuclear waste out of Nevada.
"I know that he's had several opinions on it but if you read the opinions, and I know my opponent won't, but if you read the opinions, what the opinions say is that they have no position on Yucca Mountain but you do have to follow the law," Heller said. "That's the kind of justice that you want on the Supreme Court. Somebody who doesn't want to make law but somebody who wants to enforce the laws."
Rosen says she is still concerned about Yucca Mountain, Abortion and Kavanaugh's position on the executive branch.
"As far as I'm concerned, no one is above the law and we need to be sure that we follow these investigations wherever they may lead because the dignity and decency of our democracy may be at stake," Rosen said. "There's a lot of things to consider and I don't believe Senator Heller did his due diligence by asking questions that Nevadans want the answer to."
The Senate's confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh could begin withing a few weeks and he could be appointed to the bench by the end of September.