Where Nevada’s Congressional Delegation stands on halting Syrian refugees

Updated 11/20 with full Titus statement

The U.S. House voted today to approve a Republican-backed bill that would effectively suspend the number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees admitted into the country until a more stringent screening process is put in place, despite the threat of a presidential veto. Nevada’s House congressional delegation fell along mainly party lines during the vote on H.R. 4038, which passed on a 289-137 vote. Here’s what each of Nevada’s congressional members had to say about the bill, and the issue of continuing to admit Syrian refugees into the county after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.

Dina Titus (NV-01): NO

Titus’s office has yet to release a statement on her vote against the bill, but said the following on the House floor after the bill passed.

Here’s that statement in full:

“Rather than working on real solutions to defeat ISIS and confront terrorism, the Republican Leadership rushed a bill to the floor that turns the back of Lady Liberty on families fleeing unspeakable violence and atrocities.”

“While I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Administration on ways to improve the vetting process for refugees from around the world, I cannot support politically motivated legislation that sends the wrong message to our allies, misdirects critical resources, and abandons our proud tradition of being a safe harbor for the most vulnerable in search of better lives.”

Mark Amodei (NV-02): YES

Amodei signed onto a letter with 109 Republican House colleagues signaling his support for the bill, and released the following statement:

“Americans are compassionate people, but it is not unreasonable to ask the Administration to take measures to ensure our compassion is not exploited. Protecting Americans is paramount and this is an obvious vulnerability. It is not xenophobic to say so and I resent the implication.

“With all due respect, when the President has regularly downplayed the threat of ISIS and Al Qaeda, only to be proven wrong time and again, what has he done to warrant the benefit of the doubt? Congress has the obligation to provide oversight and halt these plans until the necessary security precautions are in place.

“While it is not my preference to engage in political wordsmithing, frankly, given his comments over the past few days, it seems the President reserves greater disdain for his political opponents than he does those responsible for the deaths of thousands at home and abroad, the atrocities in Paris, beheadings, burnings, and the enslavement of women and minors. To suggest that Members of Congress and other American citizens who express concern over a legitimate threat are somehow a recruiting tool for ISIS is disgusting and about the least Presidential thing I’ve seen out of an already disappointing, JV Administration.”

Joe Heck (NV-03): YES

Like Amodei, Heck joined the group of Republicans urging President Obama to halt refugee admission into the U.S. He released this statement yesterday:

“Our first responsibility must be to protecting Americans,” Rep. Heck said. “The Islamic State has declared war on the west and settling thousands of new refugees who cannot be properly vetted only increases the chances of a Paris-style attack in the United States. The President may be satisfied with his strategy against ISIL, but it clearly is not working. It’s time for a strategy shift in the war against the Islamic State. I will be working with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence to ensure we bring to bear the full capabilities of the armed forces and our intelligence community in the fight against ISIL.” 

Heck also published this statement on Facebook today:

I voted YES on H.R. 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015 because it adds needed layers…

Posted by Rep Joe Heck on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cresent Hardy (NV-04): YES

In a statement published today, Hardy echoed his Republican colleagues in calling for extra precautions before allowing additional Syrian refugees into the U.S.

“My heart breaks for the Syrian people, but we cannot let compassion expose us to the ill will of ill men. In light of last week’s events in Paris, our first priority needs to be the safety of the American people. There are those who would take advantage of America’s generosity if we let them.

“ISIS has openly bragged about their plans to use the refugee relocation process to gain unprecedented access to Western nations. Intelligence reports show at least one of the attackers in Paris used a stolen Syrian passport to travel freely throughout the region. Why should we think the United States would be treated differently by those who seek to harm us?

“Today’s vote will put extra precautions in place so that we can continue to accept Syrian refugees and feel more confident about our own children’s safety in doing so. We should continue to look for ways to protect and support those affected by the fighting in Syria. But we cannot do that at the peril of our own national security.”

Hardy also gave a four-minute floor speech on November 17th, saying “France was not the beginning, nor will it be the end.”

Dean Heller:

Although the bill itself has yet to make it to the U.S. Senate, Nevada Senator Dean Heller has wasted little time in making his position clear, sending two open letters on Monday directed at Secretary of State John Kerry and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. In the letter to Kerry, Heller writes:

“Despite concerns from many in Congress and the American public regarding the threat of ISIS and the safety of our nation, the Administration has maintained its commitment to admitting additional Syrian refugees to the U.S. While I recognize the importance of assisting these individuals during a time of crisis, I also strongly believe Congress must conduct thorough oversight to determine whether the existing vetting process by DHS and the State Department is robust enough.”

Sandoval asked President Obama on Monday to cease sending Syrian refugees to the state, and on Wednesday asked the state’s Attorney General for an opinion on the governor’s authority to manage incoming refugees.

Harry Reid:

Although the Senate Minority Leader told reporters on Monday that he’ll adopt a “wait and see” attitude on potential holdups to the refugee program, Reid told reporters today that the current House bill won’t make it to the president’s desk.

 

 

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Joe Heck is still paying off student loans

Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV 3rd District) and I have something in common; we’re both dealing with student loan debt from higher education. In a Las Vegas Review-Journal story Sunday, fiscal disclosure forms show Heck, 52, is still dealing with debt from becoming an osteopath.

Heck, a Republican in his second term, and his wife, who is a nurse, hold bank accounts of between $15,000 and $50,000, and annuities and retirement accounts containing between $199,000 and $561,000.

Heck, 52, reported he still is paying off between $50,000 and $100,000 in student loans from his education to become an osteopath. The family last year began participating in a college savings plan for their teenage son.

Heck and his wife hold a mortgage of between $250,000 and $500,000 on their home in Henderson.

This actually isn’t the biggest surprise – Heck mentioned it in a video released last week laying out his positions on student loan debt.

Say what you will about Heck’s beliefs on student loans, but it’s nice to see a Congressman actually having to deal with paying them off.