Carson City’s Amodei predicts mid-2020 vote on Fallon range expansion
LVN Editor Emeritus
FERNLEY — Congressman Mark Amodei has been crisscrossing Nevada for the past month talking to constituents and groups and will continue to do so until Congress resumes business after the Labor Day holiday.
The Carson City Republican, who represents Congressional District 2, spoke last week to the Fernley Republican Women about issues affecting both the nation and Churchill and Lyon counties.
After his presentation, Amodei was asked about land bills and the military expansion affecting both ends of Nevada. Naval Air Station Fallon and Nellis/Creech Air Force Base in Southern Nevada have proposed the modernization and expansion of their training ranges. The NAS Fallon proposal is currently being studied in Washington, D.C., after Churchill County commissioners sent their concerns to the Navy about the expansion in February.
“We’ve been talking with the Navy and Air Force (about) what are you doing?” he said. “Are you talking care of the (agriculture) folks and what about this and what about that? What about future highway rights of way?”
Amodei said NAS Fallon proposed the land expansion because of increased distances to launch their missiles. First elected to the House in 2011, Amodei predicts the 116th Congress will pass the modernization plans for both bases. Because 2020 is an election year, he said Congress should approve the expansion bills my mid-year. If not, then he said the new Congress, which convenes in January 2021, will start over again on their discussion of the military expansion plans.
Amodei said, however, lands bills offer relief to rural communities that may be unable to grow and develop because of the federal lands surrounds them. He wants to tie the land bills to the proposals to expand both bases.
Amodei also discussed the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998 that authorized 70,000 acres to be transferred to Clark County when needed. He said in 21 years, 75,000 acres have been transferred, averaging about 1,700 acres per year.
One guest asked Amodei about his stand on Congress wanting to open the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. In the past Amodei has opposed using Yucca Mountain, but if Congress approved funding to open the site, he would seek the best possible deal for the state.
For the time being, he doesn’t have to worry.
“Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) did a pretty good job of shutting down the funding,” he added.
Amodei, though, said he envisions the state, along with the University of Nevada Las Vegas, becoming the research and development capital of the world if Congress moves forward on funding the opening for the nuclear repository.
During his 40-minute presentation and a question-and-answer period, Amodei touched on other topics. He said President Donald Trump issued an executive order because of the humanitarian and security crisis on the southwest border. He touched on the hypocrisy from the Democrats who, 120 days after the order, said something needed to be done about the crisis on the border. Congress passed a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package in June.
“The facts didn’t change, but the politics changed,” Amodei said.
The Northern Nevada congressman also touted the House’s repeal of the Cadillac Tax from the Affordable Care Act. The tax, which would go into effect in 2022, would “impose a 40 percent excise tax on employer-provided health benefits with a cost in excess of specified thresholds.”
“The Cadillac Tax is not a good idea,” Amodei pointed out.
The tax would affect Nevadans who receive their health care plans through local, state and federal governments, the school districts and unions. The idea, he said is to force people off those plans and to a single-payer program, which Amodei said, would be “Medicare for All.” He also said veterans would be affected by the tax.
“All means all … some food for thought,” Amodei said.
Amodei also said the Republicans do not want to eliminate pre-existing conditions from any health plan. He said he knows those who are 40 years and older have pre-existing conditions, so he said it wouldn’t make sense to cut the conditions.
Amodei also said a minimum wage of $15 an hour is not good in Nevada because of the hospitality industry. He said the federal application would include those who also earned tips.
“The National Restaurant Association said where it has happened ($15 per hour minimum wage), there have been lost jobs or cut hours,” Amodei said.
To further illustrate his point, he said in 2017, the Baltimore mayor vetoed legislation that would have raised the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2022. A University of Washington study also shows how Seattle workers have lost jobs because of the hourly pay increase.
Amodei said emotion is driving talk on the Second Amendment and eliminating certain firearms or seeking background checks. He said in 2018, the government recorded 352 incidences of mass shooting where at least three people were wounded or killed. Out of the millions of people who own firearms, he said it wouldn’t be prudent for Congress to eliminate the Second Amendment for the 99.9 percent who do respect the law.
“I think you need to keep searching,” he said, referring to the Democratic Party.