Jun 23 2015

Heller Urges NHTSA to Expand Efforts to Remove Unsafe Cars From the Road

Underscores importance of youth awareness in automotive recalls

(Washington, DC) – At today’s Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation hearing titled, “Update on the Recalls of Defective Takata Air Bags and NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Efforts,” U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) pressed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind to implement more aggressive efforts to ensure recalled automotive equipment is replaced.  During the hearing, Heller emphasized the need for NHTSA to employ a strategy focused on informing young drivers about automotive vehicle recalls.  Additionally, he underscored the importance of sharing data with independent automotive service providers. 


As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Senator Heller has been highly involved in automotive safety and recall issues.

Click the following link to watch a past hearing regarding the Takata Air Bag recalls:

Last Congress, as the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, Heller helped lead the Commerce Committee’s efforts regarding the General Motors (GM) recall of defective ignition switches:

Click here to read a follow up letter Senator Heller wrote to Chief Executive Officer and President of Delphi Automotive, Rodney O’Neal, regarding additional information about the role Delphi played in the General Motors (GM) recall of defective ignition switches.


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke at the Senate Committee on Finance hearing titled, “Internal Revenue Service Data Theft Affecting Taxpayers Information.” More specifically, Heller expressed his concern about newly proposed IRS gaming regulations directly to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Heller went on to emphasize the necessity for tools to combat tax-related identity theft and questioned Commissioner Koskinen and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George on how this could properly be executed. 


(Washington, DC) – Recently, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) testified at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining regarding two important land bills for the State of Nevada. Both pieces of legislation, the Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act of 2015 (S. 160) and the Douglas County Conservation Act of 2015 (S. 472) are bipartisan and bicameral. The hearing, coupled with Senator Heller’s testimony, mark important steps in the legislative process towards these bills becoming a reality. Click HERE or on the video below to watch Senator Heller’s testimony.  

Testimony as prepared:

Thank you Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Wyden for including my bills that seek to address two difficult public lands issues in Nevada in today’s hearing.  Prompt action on these types of bills is extremely important to the well-being of western states. 

As you know, the federal government administers roughly 85 percent of the land in Nevada, the highest percentage of any state in the nation.  This presents our local and state governments with many unique challenges.  Those communities often work closely with the Congressional delegation to develop bills to improve public land management.  

Last Congress, I was proud to work with Chairman Murkowski on the public lands package that was ultimately enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.  The eight Nevada bills included in that package were the culmination of nearly a decade of work on public lands bills.  I appreciate the Chairman’s leadership on these issues, and I hope my two bills before us today will be the next of these public lands successes. 

The Douglas County Conservation Act is grassroots-driven proposal that balances the need to spur economic development while preserving our state’s western character.  In 2009, Douglas County embarked on a long process to develop legislation that adjusts federal land ownership and management throughout the county.  Over the course of six years, they performed outreach activities, held a series of community open houses, and obtained the input of stakeholder groups and several hundred community members. 

Ultimately, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved framework of a bill and requested that Congress move forward.  As a result, Representative Amodei, Senator Reid, and I introduced the bill in February with the support of our entire Congressional Delegation. 

The final product jump-starts economic development throughout Douglas County while ensuring the rural character of the Carson Valley remains intact.  Specifically, it conveys lands to local governments and the Washoe Tribe for important public works projects. Additionally, it would promote conservation of riparian and bi-state sage-grouse habitat along the Carson River and improve recreation opportunities. 

I want to particularly underscore conveyances of flood control management areas and important water resources infrastructure parcels to Douglas County, which are critical to the long-term economic competitiveness of the region.  Four flash floods events that occurred in July and August of 2014 ravaged the region, causing nearly a million dollars’ worth of damage throughout the area.  The county has started construction on two projects to reduce flood risks and conducted additional studies to identify additional flood risk. 

Whereas out east, local government can acquire land on their own to build public works projects; out west we unfortunately have to get Congress’ permission.  These conveyances are critical to the county’s long-term flood control and transportation planning efforts. 

This bill was developed from the bottom up, not the top down; the way public lands bills should be written.  As a result, it has garnered near unanimous local support ranging from the Washoe Tribe to the local towns and general improvement districts.

My second bill, the Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act, would solve a long-standing public safety issue in Federal Lands.  My friend, Congressman Joe Heck, and I first introduced this legislation in 2013 in response to the tragic stories of Mr. Keith Goldberg and Air Force Staff Sargent Antonio Tucker.  Both of these individuals were missing for over a year before volunteer Good Samaritan rescue teams received government authorization to begin searching. 

Keith Goldberg, a Las Vegas taxi cab driver, disappeared on January 31, 2012. He was believed to be the victim of murder, but the police were unable to find his remains in the Las Vegas desert.  When new evidence pointed towards the Lake Mead Recreational Area, the Goldberg family reached out to a private search and rescue team to look for Keith.

All that prevented the rescue team from discovering the body was the bureaucratic red tape of the Park Service, which refused to allow them to search the area without a permit and a $1 million insurance policy.  After the family spent six months finding an insurer and raising the money to buy the policy, Keith’s body was found within two hours.

Similarly, Staff Sergeant Antonio Tucker’s family suffered a similarly frustrating ordeal. Staff Sergeant Tucker was stationed at Creech Air Force Base, when he went missing on June 23, 2012. He was believed drowned.  Like the situation with Keith Goldberg, a search team offered to look for Staff Sergeant Tucker but was blocked by the Department of the Interior.  When the team finally got authorization to search around a year later, they found the body within two days.

No more families should have to go through what the Goldberg and Tucker families had to endure.  This bipartisan common-sense legislation that expedites access to public lands for search and recovery organizations has been thoroughly vetted in Congress.  It has had multiple hearings between the House and Senate, garnering no significant opposition. Last month, it passed the House by a vote of 413-0. I am confident it can garner similar overwhelming support in the Senate.  Let’s get it done. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to testify today.  I look forward to working together to move these bipartisan proposals through the Committee, and ultimately through the full U.S. Senate. 


(Washington, DC) Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor during a colloquy in support of the USA Freedom Act. This legislation ends bulk data collection practices currently used by the government under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and carefully balances the privacy rights of Americans’ and the needs of the intelligence community as it works to keep the country safe. Heller is an original cosponsor of the legislation introduced earlier this year.


May 07 2015

Heller Testifies at EPW Hearing

Supports Efforts to Modernize the Endangered Species Act

(Washington, DC) – Recently, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) testified at the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works hearing titled, “Fish and Wildlife Service: The President’s FY2016 Budget Request for the Fish and Wildlife Service and Legislative Hearing on Endangered Species Bill.” The hearing addressed Heller’s legislation, S. 112, the Common Sense in Species Protection Act of 2015. During Heller’s testimony, he emphasized that the Endangered Species Act is out of date and ineffective and discussed a legislative effort (S. 1036) to improve sage-grouse conservation. Heller’s legislation balances the need to protect wildlife and the environment, while allowing for reasonable economic development. Click here or on the video below to watch Senator Heller’s testimony. 


Thank you for holding today’s hearing on my legislation, the Common Sense in Species Protection Act, and the many other important Endangered Species Act-related bills on today’s agenda.  I am supportive of many of these proposals; they are common-sense reforms that will help modernize the Endangered Species Act and ensure environmental laws serve both wildlife and our local communities. 

Growing up in Nevada, I know being good stewards of the natural treasures our nation has been blessed with is an important part of our way of life.   Hunting, camping, and horseback riding were big parts of my upbringing and still are activities my family and I have enjoyed doing together. 

It is important to me that we have effective environmental laws that balance the need to protect wildlife and the environment while allowing for reasonable economic development.  I want my grandkids, their kids, and their grandkids to be able to enjoy the beauties of rural Nevada just like I have. 

Unfortunately, the Endangered Species Act is a prime example of a law that has proven to be out of date and ineffective.  Since the last time it was reformed over thirty years ago, it has had less than a two percent recovery rate.  I know these days you get medals for just participating, but when I was in school, two percent was definitely not a passing grade.   It is clear the law is not serving wildlife or our western way of life well. 

While not a cure all, my bill is a simple reform aimed at modernizing the ESA and making the listing process more transparent.

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes a listing decision, it not only aims to protect the species, it also affords some protection to the ecosystems that those species rely upon.   They frequently make what is called “critical habitat” designations, which are lands that are essential for the conservation of a species.

Activities on these lands are heavily restricted.  In states like Nevada, where mining, ranching, energy production and outdoor recreation all serve as a central component of our local economy, these restrictions can be devastating.

My bill does not take away the Interior’s authority to limit these types of activities.  It simply requires the Department of Interior to report the full economic impact of any proposed critical habitat designation to the public before it can make a decision.  Specifically, rather than the very limited economic analysis they currently conduct, the Service must determine the effect a designation would have on property use and values, employment, and revenues for state and local governments. 

Additionally, it requires the Service to exclude areas from critical habitat designations if the benefit of keeping it in multiple-use far exceeds the benefits a restriction would have for wildlife.

Access to all lands, particularly public lands, is vital to Nevada’s character and economy. Restricting the multiple-use of those lands in a nontransparent and irrational fashion is not an option for Nevadans who rely heavily on them for their livelihood.  Whether it is the greater-sage grouse, the long-eared bat, the lesser prairie chicken, or any other species the agency is making a decision on, it is critical that at a minimum we add this simple, commonsense step to the process.

Before I conclude, I’d like to briefly touch on Senator Cory Gardner’s Sage-Grouse Protection and Conservation Act.  I will let him discuss the details of his bill, but as an original cosponsor, I want to underscore the importance of this measure to the State of Nevada. 

The Fish & Wildlife is expected to make a decision on whether to protect the Greater Sage-Grouse under the Endangered Species Act this fall.  Should it get listed, our rural way of life and our local economies would be devastated.  All grazing, hunting, recreation, mining, and energy production on over 19 million acres of public lands in Nevada will come to a screeching halt. 

Given the threat of a listing, the eleven western states home to sage-grouse have been working diligently on state specific conservation plans.  These plans specifically aim to address each state’s unique threats to sage-grouse while protecting their local economies. It is an important tool available to states, and Interior has said they play a major factor in their listing determination. 

The Sage-Grouse Protection and Conservation Act is important to those efforts because it helps states implement their plans and gives them time to show results. 

In Nevada, the plan implements a conservation credit system, an innovative solution that will fund important conservation projects that benefit that sage-hen and create regulatory certainty regarding conservation of the species, which is important for our economy.  In short, users of the land, for example the mining industry, pay into the system when they affect areas that could be habitat, and the state can utilize those dollars to implement habitat restoration like cheat grass removal, pinyon juniper thinning, and riparian area rehabilitation.

In Nevada, over 80 percent of habitat is on public lands.  The sage-grouse does not care if a private land owner, the state, or the federal government owns the land it inhabits.  It is extremely important Nevada is able to use the dollars generated by this system wherever it’s needed most, regardless of political boundaries.  This bill gives us that flexibility.

Two weeks ago, Secretary Jewell announced that the Service was going to reverse course on a proposed threatened listing of the Bi-State Sage Grouse, located on the California/Nevada border.  This decision was the result of years of collaborative work between the states, federal agencies, ranchers, and other local stakeholders on the conservation of key habitat and reductions of threats to the bird. 

It truly shows when everyone works together we can take steps to sustain wildlife without devastating our local economies with burdensome restrictions.  With a chance to prove success, I think the eleven western states can do the same with the greater sage-grouse. 

Thank you again Senator Inhofe for the opportunity to testify before the committee, and for the opportunity to shine a greater light on these common sense pieces of legislation. 


(Washington, DC) This morning, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the VA Backlog. Click here or below to view the clip.

Yesterday, Senators Heller and Bob Casey (D-PA) released the VA Backlog Working Group 2015 Report, as well as introduced the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act. Click here for more information regarding yesterday’s rollout. 


(Washington, DC) Today, Chairs of the VA Backlog Working Group, U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Bob Casey (D-PA), along with Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), held a press conference to release the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act, comprehensive legislation designed to create a system that can withstand surges in disability claims without generating another veteran disability claims backlog.

The Senators also released the VA Backlog Working Group 2015 Report in which the Working Group identifies the progress that has been made on the claims backlog since 2014, which Working Group recommendations have been implemented by the VA and Congress, and what actions must still be taken to fully transition the VA to a 21st century benefits delivery system. Click here for more information regarding today’s rollout.

You can click here or below to watch the video of Senator Heller at today’s press conference.


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke at the Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Health Care hearing titled, “A Fresh Look at the Impact of the Medical Device Tax on Jobs, Innovation, and Patients.”  More specifically, Heller highlighted Nevada’s need for pro-growth policy rather than burdensome taxes, like the Medical Device Tax, which stifle economic development and deter medical innovation.


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke at the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing on “Fulfilling the Promise to Women Veterans.” The hearing was requested by Senator Heller earlier this year and examined what progress the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made in offering gender-specific care to women veterans.

Heller Emphasizes Importance of Womens' Clinics at VA Hospitals

Heller Stresses Importance of Fulfilling the Promises Made to Nevada's Women Veterans


In February, Senator Heller sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee requesting the committee hold a hearing to assess the VA’s efforts to care for our nation’s women veterans and returning female service members. You can read the letter here.

Today, nearly 2.3 million women are U.S. veterans, including 27,000 in Nevada. Given the number is expected to rise, Senator Heller has taken the lead by introducing the bipartisan Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act (S. 471). Heller’s legislation, introduced along with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), will do the following:

  • Require VA to establish standards in VA health care facilities to meet the specific needs of women veterans and integrate these standards into prioritization for construction projects.
  • Analyze women’s health outcomes as a performance measure for VA medical center executives.
  • Require every VA medical center to have a full-time obstetrician and/or gynecologist.
  • Improve outreach to veterans by requiring VA to provide state veterans agencies with contact information for veterans.
  • Require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of VA’s ability to meet the needs of women veterans and their privacy and security in VA facilities.

The Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act has been endorsed by:

In March, the Senate agreed to Heller Amendment #456 to the FY2016 Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 11), which ensures Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities properly meet the needs of women veterans by taking into account their safety, privacy, and dignity. The amendment was cosponsored by Senators Murray, Bob Casey (D-PA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).


Senator Dean Heller's remarks to the Nevada State Legislature as prepared

Good evening. It is always an honor to speak to you. This session is proving to be exciting and there is a lot of work to be done. Thank you for taking the time to be here this evening.

I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval, Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison, and Speaker John Hambrick for having me here tonight. Leaders Michael Roberson, Aaron Ford, and Marilyn Kirkpatrick, thanks to you as well. If I may, I would like to welcome back Senator Debbie Smith to this body. It will be good to have her back.

As you’ve heard, Senator Harry Reid recently announced he will be retiring. Harry’s served our state with distinction in both local and state government before representing Nevada in Washington. Harry’s coming home to Nevada, and I’m sure his family is looking forward to spending more time with him.

Out of a number of Nevada elected officials who have passed away since last session, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on a few that stood out in my life. 

Joe Dini was a long-serving member and former Speaker of the Assembly when I was here, and Marv Teixeira was a former mayor of Carson City. Marv was also a Pop Warner and Little League coach of mine when I was a kid. I also worked with Bernie Anderson and Pete Livermore. The leadership of these men will be missed greatly. So will their service to our state.

And though he was never an elected official, he was a fixture in the Nevada Legislature for almost 30 years. I’m talking about Ed Vogel. When I served as Secretary of State, Ed and I operated under an open-door policy. It didn’t matter if I would have had a closed door policy, Ed would’ve kicked it down to get the answers he needed. His service and institutional knowledge at the capital for the Review Journal will be greatly missed.

Today I am in familiar territory. Carson is home for me. Always has been. Always will be. As many of you know, my father – who is in attendance today along with my mother - owned and operated an automotive shop just across the street. 

Hanging around my Dad’s garage sweeping the floors taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons. Being a small business owner is not easy. You have to wake up early and stay late. But it instills discipline and a work ethic that inherently teaches you responsibility. Of course, I’d also like to point out that I am probably the only U.S. Senator that can tune up your car, work on your transmission, and – if you need it --  sweep your garage floor. 

The Nevada Legislature…..

This is the body where I got my start in public service. I look back at that time fondly.  You learn a lot here, and you make many friends also.

Your work here is to help our state advance and become a better place for its citizens. I have the same job in Washington DC.  And the good news is:  we’ve turned the corner in Washington. For the first time in six years the US Senate is open for business!   We passed a balanced budget .   Committees are working.   Amendments are introduced. They are debated and bills are passed.

In fact, a week ago Thursday, in 4 hours, we had more amendments than in all of last year!

My priorities in Washington revolve around one word: progress. I learned very quickly that moving forward and fighting for a cause requires you to stick to your principles. I’ve also learned that when you’re crafting legislation and you get 80 percent of what you want, you take it! Then, you wake up the next morning, and fight for the other 20 percent.

Since I last spoke to this esteemed body, I’ve become a grandfather for a second time. It’s my grandchildren’s future and your children and grandchildren’s future that I’m fighting for. It’s why I am an outspoken supporter of passing a budget in Washington. Nevadans, this legislative body, and all American families have to live on a budget.

We’re 18 trillion dollars in debt.  Our country continues to borrow 4 million dollars per minute.  By the end of this speech, our nation will have borrowed 60 million dollars!

(by the way this is only going to be a 15 minute speech!)

It only takes two days for the Federal Government to borrow Nevada’s entire state budget!!

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you what I believe are the responsibilities of your federal government.

First, provide for a strong national defense.

Second, encourage commerce and maintain infrastructure.

Third, provide a safety net for those who fall on tough times.

Let’s take number 1.   Providing a strong defense doesn’t end on the battlefield. It extends to ensuring our veterans are properly taken care of when they return home after service.

Every day when I drive to work in Washington, I pass by the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. These monuments and grave sites serve as a testament to the sacrifices of our Armed Services and constantly remind me of our responsibility to care for these men and women.

One of the greatest privileges of serving Nevada in the US Senate is the opportunity to sit on the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee. With Nevada being home to over 300,000 veterans, and with approximately 27,000 of those being women veterans, I remain committed to advocating on behalf of the issues facing our veterans locally and nationwide.

Chief among them is the VA Disability Claims Backlog.  I took the lead on the Veterans Affairs’ Committee to reduce the average wait time for Nevada veterans’ benefit claims by spearheading the VA Backlog Working Group. While the wait time has improved from 478 days to 257 days, it is still far from the 125 days that the VA has promised and remains one of the longest wait times in the nation. It’s unacceptable and until the backlog is eliminated, I won’t back down.

I also believe the VA must look to the future and better prepare for the rise in number of women veterans. Today, nearly 2.3 million women are veterans of military service.  As I mentioned, here in Nevada we have 27,000 of them. That’s why I teamed with Senator Patty Murray of Washington, a Democrat, on legislation to make sure privacy and security in VA medical facilities are up to par and that each facility offers a full range of services to ensure female veterans are receiving proper care.

Let’s move on to the economy. As reports have indicated, Nevada is fortunate in that its economy is recovering better than many states. This is great news. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, our state has fared better than many.

Recently, I was assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. I sought this specifically, because it allows me to help many of Nevada’s citizens. I’ll now be able to focus on strengthening and protecting key programs like Social Security and Medicare. These are important programs Nevadans depend on, and we must ensure they are around for years to come.

This assignment also gives our state a seat at the table to discuss tax reform. When it comes to simplifying the tax code, I feel no different than most of you. It’s too big, too complicated, too expensive. A friend of mine used to joke that the tax code is as long as the Bible, but with none of the good news.

The last time the federal tax code was updated Ronald Reagan was President, Tip O’Neill was Speaker of the House, Dick Bryan was our Governor and a gallon of gas cost you 93 cents. That was back in 1986. 

I do believe fundamental tax reform is within our reach. Let me tell you why it should happen:

  • First, our country is 18 trillion dollars in debt.
  • Second, in the last few years, there were 30 inversions – that’s when a company’s headquarters moves to a foreign country for a better tax climate. The latest example of this is Burger King.
  • Finally, in the last 10 years, 1,300 companies have been bought out by foreign-controlled interests. One of the most recent was the company that makes bats for America’s past time: the Louisville Slugger. That’s over 100 years of tradition bought out by a Finnish company.

Everybody in this room,  Every Nevadan,  Every American agrees this trend must be reversed. The only way that will happen is through fundamental tax reform.

Now, let me tell you why tax reform is not happening:

  • Today the White House will only participate in fundamental tax reform if it includes a trillion dollars in tax increases.
  • In 1986, the last time we had tax reform, it was revenue neutral, agreed to by Republicans and Democrats.
  • And President Reagan made it happen.

Don’t get me wrong, when I think the President is right, I’ll support him. When I think the President is wrong, I won’t.  President Bush wasn’t always right and he wasn’t always wrong. As leaders in Washington, if we understand this and work together, we’ll move the country forward. 

This morning I was in Boulder City with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Joe Hardy where we broke ground on Interstate 11. Infrastructure is a top priority of mine. Interstate 11 is important for our state and important to me. I am pushing key legislation on I-11 on the Senate floor and am proud to see this project moving closer to become reality. Last year over 40 million visitors came to the Silver State supporting almost 400,000 jobs. This designation of I-11 connects the two most populous cities in America without an existing freeway already between them.  It has the potential to open even more markets for tourism and trade which will improve our economy and create jobs.

I believe it is important to find creative solutions to enact a long-term surface transportation bill and keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent without increasing our nation’s deficit. As the co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s Working Group on Infrastructure, I am well positioned to advocate on behalf of Nevada’s and our nation’s transportation needs. I strongly believe that infrastructure plays a key role in our nation’s and Nevada’s economic growth.  This is why I am seeking a long-term extension of the highway bill. It will provide jobs in the short term and economic growth in the long term. 



As Nevadans recover from one of the worst housing markets in history, I will continue to protect their interests as a member of the Banking Committee. For many people, their home is their largest asset. I want to make sure it stays just that: an asset and not a liability. Some people are arguing that we now live in a rental society. I have four young adult children of my own, and I worry about their generation. A whole generation of young adults has now witnessed their parents struggle in this economy. These young adults have gone to college, acquired student loan debt, and struggled to find a job after graduation. It is no wonder why so many are putting off the American dream of owning a home.

And for those Nevadans that already own a home, I teamed with Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan to introduce legislation that will benefit many Nevadans: the Mortgage Debt Relief Act. I have been fighting for continuous extensions of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act for years. While the housing crisis may have ended for some, I can tell you in Nevada there are still many who have to sell their home at a loss in a short sale. I still can’t figure out how the IRS thinks its makes any sense to tax someone on income they have never seen.

This legislation is a prime example of how Washington can help Nevada’s families. 

With over 85 percent of the land in Nevada being owned and controlled by the federal government, I’m a big proponent of transferring much of our land back to local or state government control.

Since my first days in the House, I’ve made sure lands bills were a priority.

In December, we had eight lands bills included in key legislation that passed Congress and was signed into law by the President. Some of the areas positively affected are the Fallon Naval Air Station and the counties of: Lyon, Elko, Clark, Humboldt, and Storey.

Best of all, we were able to get input and local buy in from municipalities and counties across the state. It was a team effort and a strong coalition of public and private entities that did a lot of heavy lifting over the course of many years. We were able to see some of the fruits of our labor finally recognized.

A prime example of what this means to local communities is the City of Yerington. The City will now work with Nevada Copper to expand its mining operation and create over a thousand jobs while also providing new infrastructure and recreational opportunities.

In Southern Nevada, I was proud to team with Congressman Joe Heck on legislation to speed access to public lands so volunteer search groups could conduct searches for missing people. The Good Samaritan Search and Recovery Act will keep families from having to wait on the federal government and its bureaucratic red tape when it comes to searching for a missing loved one on public lands.

I have no doubt, in the coming years, our state will benefit tremendously from the economic development spurred on by these historic lands bills. 

In these difficult times it is more important than ever that we work together, find common ground, and make tough decisions in order to get people back to work. In Washington, I try to be as pragmatic as possible without compromising my principles. Like all of you, I want to see our state succeed, and I work every single day to achieve that goal. That’s been a steady theme of my time in office and one I hope to continue. It’s about making progress so tomorrow is a better day for future generations of Nevadans.

A great president once stated, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  I challenge this legislative body to heed these words by Abraham Lincoln and create Nevada’s future.

Thank you for your time. I appreciate the opportunity to be here today.