Discusses his amendments to spur innovation, create jobs, increase domestic energy supply and mineral production, and reduce regulations

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012). During his speech, Heller emphasized Nevada’s intricate role in clean energy production and in research and development on energy efficiency and other alternative technologies that are critical to the nation’s energy future. He also highlighted his provisions included in S. 2012, as well as the amendments he offered to the legislation.

“Energy is not only one of Nevada’s but overall, one of our nation’s greatest assets.

“But Congress has not enacted comprehensive energy legislation in nearly a decade, so it is time to reform federal policies to reflect the energy and natural resources challenges of the 21st century.”

For Senator Heller’s full remarks, click HERE.


Senator Heller offered five amendments to S. 2012, a bipartisan energy bill focused on addressing national energy opportunities and challenges, saving energy, increasing domestic energy and mineral supplies, facilitating investment into critical infrastructure, improving grid security, and boosting international trade. Below is a list of amendments Senator Heller offered. You can click HERE for background information on each one. 

  • Heller-Heinrich-Risch-Tester-Gardner-Wyden-Bennet-Daines-Udall Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Amendment (No. 3212)
  • Heller-Reed Energy Storage Amendment (No. 3231)
  • Reed-Heller Energy Storage Amendment (No. 2989) PASSED the U.S. Senate yesterday, February 2, 2016
  • Heller Environmental Protection Agency Accountability Amendment (No. 2995)
  • Heller Financial Assurance Amendment (No. 2994)

Two of Heller’s provisions, including the Public Land Job Creation Act (S.113) and the Geothermal Exploration Opportunities (GEO) Act (S.562), were already included in S. 2012.


Questions VA on Delivery of Health Care and Benefits to Nevada Veterans

(Washington, DC) –Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke at the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing titled, “VA’s Transformation Strategy: Examining the Plan to Modernize VA.” While questioning Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald, Heller emphasized the need for greater transparency in the VA disability claims backlog statistics, as well as Nevada veterans’ ability to seek VA health care wherever they choose. Click here or below to watch.


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor, urging his colleagues to support Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) Federal Reserve Transparency Act (S. 2232). Senator Heller has consistently supported this legislation, which requires an audit of the Federal Reserve. In fact, during his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Heller teamed with former Congressman Ron Paul in calling for greater transparency and accountability at the Federal Reserve.

“My colleagues, it is essential that Congress exercise its constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight and scrutinize the Federal Reserve in an open and transparent way, which is why I will proudly vote today to move forward with auditing the Fed and encourage my colleagues to join me.”

For Senator Heller’s full remarks, click here.


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor in a colloquy with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), urging his colleagues to support their efforts to repeal the “Cadillac tax” by the end of the year.


In September, Senators Heller and Heinrich introduced S. 2045, which fully repeals the Affordable Care Act’s Cadillac tax. The two Senators introduced the Senate companion to Congressman Joe Courtney’s (D-CT02) House legislation.  Beginning in 2018, the Cadillac tax will tax employers whose health insurance plans cost more than $10,200 a year for individuals and $27,500 a year for families at 40 percent of the cost above those limits. In Nevada alone, 1.3 million workers who have employer-sponsored health insurance plans will be hit by this tax.

Last week, Senator Heller filed an amendment to fully repeal the Cadillac tax. This amendment reflects the same goal as S. 2045 and passed the Senate by a vote of 90-10.


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to support his legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “Cadillac Tax.” Click here or below to watch his speech.


In September, Senators Heller and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), introduced the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act, which fully repeals the ACA’s “Cadillac Tax.” The two Senators introduced this Senate companion to U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney’s (D-CT02) House legislation.  Beginning in 2018, the “Cadillac Tax” will tax employers whose health insurance plans cost more than $10,200 a year for individuals and $27,450 a year for families at 40 percent of the cost above those limits. In Nevada alone, 1.3 million workers who have employer-sponsored health insurance plans will be hit by this tax.

Remarks as prepared:

Before I begin I would like to first offer my condolences to the nation of France.  She is one of our oldest allies and the people of America stand proud with her during this tragic time.

Mr. President, I rise today to share my concerns with the devastating impacts of the Cadillac tax, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The Cadillac Tax is a 40 percent excise tax set to take effect in 2018 on employer sponsored health insurance plans.

In Nevada, 1.3 million workers who have employer-sponsored health insurance plans will be hit by the Cadillac tax.

These are public employees in Carson City, service industry workers on the Strip in Las Vegas, small business owners and retirees across the state.

My colleagues from across the country have heard the same concerns I have; “this 40 percent tax will increase costs, significantly reduce benefits, or result in employers getting rid of employer sponsored health coverage altogether.”

Mr. President, this is precisely why Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, and I have authored the “Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2015”, the only bipartisan piece of legislation to fully repeal this onerous tax

My bill has 19 bipartisan cosponsors.

Over the summer, when I committed to taking a leadership role to fully repeal this tax – I waited for months for a sign that my colleagues across the aisle would work together to repeal this tax.

There was a lot of talk, but no action.

And to date there is still little action from these same colleagues which is why I ask them once again to join me in repealing this bad tax.

This shouldn’t be a partisan issue yet my colleagues across the aisle have turned it into one.

That is why I commend Senator Heinrich for joining me in working together in a bipartisan manner to fully repeal this tax.

And this repeal needs to happen and happen quickly for employers to be able to plan. 

Whether it is through our bill or any of the must pass measures this Chamber takes up in the next 6 weeks before the end of this year - like tax extenders - the Cadillac tax needs to be fully repealed.

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, this is something that I have engaged my colleagues on and will continue to do so especially as we hopefully look to move tax extenders before the end of the year.

This is not just something that has bipartisan support in the Senate, there are over 218 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and 83 organizations have endorsed our efforts to repeal the Cadillac tax.

It is very rare these days to see this much agreement in Washington.  Organized labor, chambers of commerce, local and state governments, and small businesses have come together with a bipartisan group of Senators putting forth a solution to fix a problem affecting so many hard working Americans.

The Cadillac tax doesn’t officially go into effect until 2018, but the impact of this tax is being talked about more and more because employers are starting to make major changes now to their workers’ health benefits in order limit the impact of the tax, or avoid the tax altogether.

I have heard from large companies, small businesses, and organized labor- such as the Culinary union in Nevada – and they are all saying the same thing, “the Cadillac tax needs to be fully repealed or our employees will experience massive changes to their health care.”

We’re talking about reduced benefits, increased premiums, and higher deductibles.

All of these lead to more money being taken out of the pockets of hard working families.

According to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, employees who have job-based insurance have witnessed their out-of-pocket expenses climb from $900 in 2010 to $1,300 in 2015, on average. That’s almost a 50 percent increase in 5 years.

Employees working for small businesses now have deductibles over $1,800.

Kaiser also notes that deductibles have risen nearly seven times faster than workers’ earnings since 2010.

Kaiser’s President, Drew Altman said, “It’s quite a revolution.  When deductibles are rising seven times faster than wages… its means that people can’t pay their rent… they can’t buy their gas.  They can’t eat.”

As deductibles rise, another way employers are planning on avoiding Obamacare’s massive new tax, is by eliminating popular health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

Over 33 million Americans who use Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and 13.5 million Americans who use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) may see these accounts vanish in the coming years as companies scramble to avoid the law’s 40 percent tax.

HSAs and FSAs are used for things like hospital and maternity services, child care, dental care, physical therapy, and access to mental health services. 

Access to these life-saving services could all be gone for tens of millions of Americans if the Cadillac tax is not fully repealed.

Everyday there is a new article in the national press talking about how middle class workers are going to be hit by this tax.

Towers Watson, a management and consulting firm, did a survey of large businesses who typically offer the most comprehensive coverage. 

They found that by 2018 more than half of employers are planning to “significantly” cut what they contribute to insure employee spouses and children.

The United Parcel Service (UPS) is one of those companies that have already said they plan on, limiting plan eligibility for spouses of employees.

Shaun O’Brien, assistant policy director at the AFL-CIO said recently that, “Employers are coming to the table asking for cuts in benefits based on their preliminary projections around the 40 percent excise tax.”

To make matters worse – Chief Financial Officer of a waste and recycling company, Action Environmental, recently told the Wall Street Journal that his company would consider getting rid of its employee coverage altogether because Obamacare’s Cadillac tax. 

He said, “I’d be lying if I said we haven’t had that discussion.”

Delta Airlines expects Obamacare will cost it $100 million per year.  One reason for the new costs is the 40 percent excise tax on Delta’s employee health benefits.

As if Americans don’t already have enough issues with airlines these days.

Out of all the news America see from the Cadillac tax – none of it is positive.

The goal of health reform should be to help those who do not have health coverage, and lower costs for those who already have insurance.

This tax doesn’t achieve either of those goals – and everyone knows it.

I will do everything I can to see this tax fully repealed.

There is real urgency to get this done.

I will work with anyone to see the Cadillac tax fully repealed by the end of the year.

Once again whether it is my bipartisan bill or in a year-end package like tax extenders – we need to repeal this bad tax.

Fully repealing the Cadillac tax is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to join forces and work together, to repeal a bad tax for one purpose: Help 151 million workers keep the health insurance they like.

Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the floor.


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor, regarding his opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) finalized Clean Water Rule, also known as Waters of the United States (WOTUS). This regulation greatly expands federal control over water by declaring that ditches and other standing water sources be considered “navigable waters.” Such regulations will impact private property rights, as well as numerous industries’ ability to create jobs, including farming, ranching, commercial development, small business, construction, and domestic energy production. Click HERE or below to watch Senator Heller’s speech.


Senator Heller is a cosponsor of the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140), legislation that requires the EPA and the USACE to redo WOTUS and consider stakeholder input – something they have completely ignored in the past.

Senator Heller supported S.J.RES.22, a joint resolution of disapproval which would nullify the Obama Administration’s final rule. That resolution, which Senator Heller also cosponsored at introduction, passed the United States Senate earlier today.

Remarks as prepared:

Mr. President, I rise today to speak on an issue that will impact every single one of my colleague’s constituencies - namely the Environmental Protection Agency’s and Army Corps’ of Engineers’ new definition for “navigable waters.”

Also known as Waters of the U.S., this overreaching and burdensome regulation is bad for Nevada and bad for the nation.

My home state of Nevada is one of the driest states in the nation, and water is a precious resource. 

The only thing more scarce than water in the Silver State is private property. 

The implementation of this Waters of the U.S. rule will only do more harm to both of these.

Since coming to Congress one of my primary goals has been to promote job-creating policies that grow Nevada’s economy, and the key to promoting these types of policies is to cut red tape regulations handed down by Washington bureaucrats.

Unfortunately, time and time again this Administration is bound and determined to issue overly burdensome regulations that damage the economy and stifle job creation.

This latest edict from Washington bureaucrats is no different.

After years of failed legislative attempts to change the scope of regulatory authority over water, this Administration has overturned both Congressional intent and multiple Supreme Court decisions to further overregulate hardworking Nevadans.

I have long been an outspoken advocate and cosponsor of Senator Barrasso’s legislation - The Federal Water Quality Protection Act - which would make the EPA and Army Corps’ of Engineers redo this rule and consider stakeholder input; something they completely ignored the last time around.

Mr. President, considering that nearly 87 percent of my home state’s land is managed by the federal government – who I often refer to as our federal landlords,  it’s easy to see why this rule is thought of by many back home as yet another federal land grab.

I’ve heard from many of my constituents who have shared with me their staunch opposition to this rule, like Marlow from Ruby Valley, and Darryl from Yerington.  

They write about the rule– and I quote -“creates confusion and risk by providing the Agencies with almost unlimited authority to regulate, at their discretion, any low spot where rainwater collects, including common farm ditches, ephemeral drainages, agricultural ponds and isolated wetlands found in and near farms and ranching.”

The EPA may tell you that farmers and ranchers are protected from this regulation by exemptions under the Clean Water Act.  The problem with this so-called exemption is, if you have made any changes to your farm or ranch since 1977 that impacts any water or land, you don’t qualify for an exemption from this rule.

And under this new rule, almost all water could be regulated. 

Ranching is the backbone of Nevada’s rural economy, and implementation of this rule will devastate Nevada landowners and businesses.  

Like Marlow and Darryl I believe this rule needs to be re-done with significant input from local stakeholders, and in a way that will not impact the ability of Nevada ranchers to provide food for Americans.

Unfortunately the Senate was not even able to proceed to this measure and debate legislation to exert some much-needed oversight over the EPA. 

Although I was sad to see that vote fail, today I am proud to stand in support of Senator Ernst’s resolution of disapproval, which will  send this regulation back to the Administration and send a clear message that Congress doesn’t accept overreaching regulations created by Washington bureaucrats

The fact is, Mr. President, the implementation of this rule has already been halted by federal courts.  I strongly believe that, at the end of the day, the Courts will decide to overturn this onerous regulation. 

That is why I stand here today to urge my colleagues to support this resolution of disapproval.

Instead of waiting years for the courts to decide, Congress needs to take immediate action to show this Administration that we will not stand for anymore regulations that kill jobs and stifle economic growth.

Good stewardship of our natural resources is part of Nevada’s character that makes it so unique.  This is not about dirty water, or a rollback of the Clean Water Act. 

This is about a federal regulation that severely limits land use, infringes on property rights, and diminishes economic activity in Nevada and nationwide. 

 This is about federal regulatory overreach by an agency that is using the Clean Water Act as a means to greatly increase its authority.  At a time when the American public is still waiting for answers on the Animas River spill in Colorado I find it greatly disturbing that this agency is using clean drinking water as an excuse to gain authority over all waters in the U.S. Enough with the power trips.

Should we really trust the Environmental “Pollution” Agency with this?

As a sportsman I grew up understanding the importance of being a good steward to our environment.  I support efforts that balance conservation and economic growth, and that is why I again urge my colleagues to stand with me against this Administration’s heavy handed mandates.

Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the floor. 

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller’s (R-NV) legislation, Creating A Reliable Environment (CARE) for Veterans’ Dependents Act, passed the U.S. Senate. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Heller introduced this legislation to ensure that children of homeless veterans are eligible for services provided to that veteran by VA-funded facilities. Following his fight to ensure this must-pass provision cleared the Senate, Senator Heller issued this statement:

“In cities like Las Vegas and Reno, where veteran homelessness remains a serious problem, it is imperative that dependents of veterans, especially their children, are taken care of when their veteran parent has fallen on hard times. I am proud that the Senate passed my legislation to help get our heroes and their families back on their feet,” said Senator Dean Heller. “It is an honor to advocate on behalf of Nevada’s more than 300,000 veterans, and I will continue fighting to ensure each and every one of them is taken care of.”

Senator Heller also spoke on the Senate floor. You can click HERE or on the video below to watch his remarks.


  • Under current law, the VA Grant and Per Diem program does not reimburse VA-funded facilities for services provided to a homeless veteran’s dependent.
  • Children accompanying their veteran parent who has fallen on hard times can be turned away from receiving care at VA-funded facilities.
  • The CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act simply allows the VA to reimburse facilities for care of a dependent of a veteran receiving care at a shelter funded by the VA Grant and Per Diem program.
  • The CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act passed as an amendment to Senator Patty Murray’s (D-WA) Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act (S.1731), as modified.  

A PDF copy of the CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act is available HERE.

Remarks as prepared:

Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Murray for her efforts here today and for her willingness to work with me on including a provision that we’ve worked on together for several years now as members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Senator Murray’s legislation ensures that homeless veterans continue to be eligible for the VA’s Grant and Per Diem Program. 

With my provision that Senator Murray has agreed to include, this legislation will also extend this eligibility to the dependents of homeless veterans.

Given the work that I have done with Senator Murray on eligibility for homeless veterans’ dependents, I believe it was important we addressed both the needs of the veteran, as well as their dependents.

In cities like Las Vegas, where veteran homelessness remains a serious problem, the supportive housing and service centers that receive VA funding are absolutely critical to getting these veterans back on their feet.

Not only do the programs provide housing, but they also offer services, such as case management, education, crisis intervention, and other services to special populations such as homeless women veterans.

This Congress has a responsibility to ensure that existing veterans under this program remain eligible, but also that dependents of veterans, especially their children, are taken care of when their veteran parent has fallen on hard times.

That is why I introduced the CARE for Veterans’ Dependents Act with Senator Murray to make dependents eligible for care at VA-funded facilities.

These children and their parents deserve the certainty that they will be able to access supportive housing during their serious time of need.

I am proud that we were able to move forward on this measure, which was just accepted by unanimous consent.

Senator Murray and I have a proud history of working together to advocate on behalf of our nation’s veterans, and today’s passage of this legislation is another testament to our strong partnership on behalf of veterans.

I am also grateful to Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Blumenthal of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for working so diligently with us to make this happen.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Offers Remarks on Senate Floor

(Washington, DC) –Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor, urging his colleagues to support his commonsense amendment to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (S. 754). Heller’s amendment holds the federal government accountable and strengthens the privacy protections in this legislation by raising the standard for removing Americans’ and Nevadans’ personally identifiable information prior to the federal government sharing with the private sector.

Remarks as prepared:

Mr. President, growing up in Nevada, I appreciate the values that make Nevadans distinct—fiercely independent and as diverse as our terrain.  But what never ceases to amaze me about Nevadans is our passion for protecting Americans’ privacy from the intrusion of the federal government.

It is a value that is shared across the entire state, and one that I swore to uphold.  But many Americans have lost faith that their government will uphold their civil liberties.

So it is Congress’s responsibility to ensure that every piece of legislation passed by this body protects the privacy and liberties of all Americans, and I will not accept attempts to diminish these non-negotiable rights.

Mr. President, that is why I am on the floor today to continue protecting Americans and Nevadans’ privacy by pushing for my amendment to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.

I commend my colleagues—Chairman Burr and Ranking Member Feinstein—for recognizing the need to address the serious issue of cybersecurity.

As the Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee’s Consumer Protection Subcommittee last Congress, I delved into these issues and understand the impact of data breaches and cyber threats. 

It’s an economic concern as well as a national security concern for our country.

So I share the desire to find a path forward on information sharing between the federal government and the private sector as another tool in the cybersecurity toolbox.

But these efforts cannot come at the expense of personal privacy.

And the bill I see today does not do enough to ensure personally identifiable information is stripped out before being shared.

That is why I have filed a simple fix.

Let’s strengthen the standard for stripping out this information.

Right now, this bill says that the federal government only has to strip out personal information if they KNOW it is not directly related to a cyber threat.

My amendment, #2548 as modified, would ensure that when personal information is being stripped out, it is because the entity “reasonably believes” it is not related to a cyber threat.

This distinction creates a wider protection for personal information by ensuring these entities are making an effort to take out personal information that’s not necessary.

I am proud to have the support of Senators Leahy and Wyden, both great advocates in the Senate for privacy.

However, I’m disappointed my amendment was not included in the substitute amendment that we see today.

The supporters of this bill talk about how this legislation upholds privacy, but couldn’t accept a reasonable amendment that complements those privacy provisions.

And our friends over in the House of Representatives already agree that the private sector should be held to this standard, which is why they included this language in the cybersecurity bill they passed.

If this is good enough for the private sector, shouldn’t it be good enough for the federal government?

Furthermore, DHS has publicly acknowledged the importance of removing personally identifiable information because it will allow the information-sharing regime to function more efficiently. 

So what this comes down to, Mr. President, is our nation’s commitment to balancing the need for sharing cybersecurity information with the need to protect Americans’ personal information.

Like many in the tech community have already publicly stated—security should not come at the expense of privacy.

I believe my Amendment #2548 to hold the federal government accountable strikes that balance and hope that this simple fix can be incorporated into the bill.

I encourage my colleagues to support this commonsense effort to strengthen this bill and keep our commitment to upholding the rights of U.S. citizens.

I appreciate both Senators Burr and Feinstein’s willingness to work with me on my amendment and look forward to continuing this debate.

Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the floor.

(Washington, DC) –Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke at the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing titled, “Examining the Impact of Exposure to Toxic Chemicals on Veterans and the VA’s Response.” During the hearing, Heller spoke on behalf of Nevada veterans who are concerned about what impact toxic exposure has on their long-term health or the health of their children and grandchildren.  Specifically, Heller asked witnesses from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) how they address the concerns of these veterans and ensure proper research is carried out to examine the potential health impacts faced by those who bravely served our nation.

“What strikes me most about this hearing is not only about exposures to toxins and how they can be linked to certain diseases for our veterans, but as important are the birth defects and other problems that affect their children and grandchildren.”


(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced bipartisan legislation to fully repeal a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the “Cadillac Tax,” which taxes high-cost health insurance plans. The two Senators introduced a Senate companion to U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney’s (D-CT02) House legislation.

Beginning in 2018, the “Cadillac Tax” would tax employers whose health insurance plans cost more than $10,200 a year for individuals and $27,450 a year for families at 40 percent of the cost above those limits. Click here or below to watch the video.