Dean Heller calls for bipartisan cooperation in U.S. Senate
In the wake of a victory that gave the Republican party one of its few bright spots in this election, Sen. Dean Heller on Wednesday said more bipartisan cooperation in the Senate is vital to fixing the nation’s problems.“I hope the new body that comes together has more of a tendency to work together,” he said.“We’ve got to solve this,” he said in an interview from his Carson City home.He said the problems the nation faces can be solved but not without cooperation.“Republican ideas are not going to become law,” Heller said. “Democratic ideas are not going to become law. The only way we’re going to pass law in the United States Congress is for Republicans and Democrats to sit together and solve (problems).”Heller took a narrow victory over Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley on Tuesday despite the fact President Barack Obama carried Nevada. It was Heller’s first time elected to the Senate, he was named to the seat a year ago by Gov. Brian Sandoval after John Ensign resigned.Asked about Ohio Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s comments that he would consider a deal with the President that included raising taxes “under the right conditions,” Heller said that is probably a reference to the Bowles-Simpson plan prepared by the president’s deficit commission which proposed cutting top tax rates while raising more federal revenue by eliminating loopholes.“I think that’s definitely in the right direction,” Heller said. “They were able to reduce tax rates 10 percent to 25 percent from 35 percent and still raise substantial revenue in this country.“That has to be part of the discussion and I think that’s what Speaker Boehner is talking about,” Heller said.To make it easier to pass legislation, Heller said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is talking about changing some of the rules that control the Senate. Heller said he’s not sure if that’s a good idea but that he feels he can now bring some clout to the GOP caucus because two things happened in this election.“First I’m elected, not appointed. Two, I was the only Republican to win in a state that Obama carried and people are going to want to know why,” he said referring to his colleagues in the Senate Republican caucus.Heller said if both sides willing to at least talk about the issues, “I think we can solve these problems.”He said that will be his goal and, with at least some clout in his caucus “they will hear from me.”Heller won every Nevada county, except Clark. In his hometown — Carson City — Heller won 58 percent of the vote. He had 13,488 votes compared to Berkley’s 7,509.