Heller, Derby face-off at business breakfast in Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com

Heller, Derby face-off at business breakfast in Carson City

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., charged Thursday that Jill Derby supports socialized medicine and the government takeover of banks in the United States.

But Derby, trying to unseat Heller in Congressional District 2, fired back that she supported expansion of the plan to provide health insurance for the children of the working poor which she said isn’t socialized medicine.

“I do not support socialized medicine,” she told a crowd of business professionals attending the Nevada Business Connections monthly breakfast at Gold Dust West.

She said that program would have provided health coverage for some 70,000 children now without health benefits because their parents can’t afford it and their employers can’t provide it.

Derby said she doesn’t back the “institutionalization” of banks by the government.

She said if the government is bailing out banks, she believes it would be appropriate for the government to get stock in those banks so that, when they recover, the public can get back some of its “bailout” money.

But, Heller said, the version of the health program she supports, and which he voted against, contained a $70 billion tax increase, takes away money from senior citizen programs and covers illegal immigrants.

Derby said those allegations are completely false.

Derby, a Democrat, and Heller, the Republican incumbent, are battling for Nevada’s District 2 seat in the House of Representatives.

Heller told the audience he evaluates legislation based on whether it promotes “more competition, higher quality, less cost.”

He said the bailout legislation didn’t meet that test so he voted against it.

“I believe the economic crisis was 100 percent avoidable,” he said, adding that he blames both parties.

He said for 30 years, Democrats in Congress have pushed opening up the loan markets to allow risky loans by Fannie Mae and other lenders. And for the past decade or more, he said, Republicans pushed to reduce regulatory protections.

“They removed all those barriers,” he said.

The result, Heller said, is the current economic crisis.

He said the financial markets need “time and capital,” but that the government shouldn’t be providing it.

“The minute we bailed out Bear Sterns, every one of those financial institutions shimmied up to the bar and said we’re next,” he said.

Derby said she too would have voted against the bailout passed by Congress.

“It didn’t address what I thought was the root of the problem – the housing crisis.”

She said the bailout didn’t direct resources to those people struggling to keep their homes.

“We will continue to bleed as long as those foreclosures continue to happen,” she said.

She said she wants to focus on renewable energy development not only because being dependent on foreign oil makes the nation vulnerable but because they that is an economic opportunity for Nevada. She said the state has ample solar, geothermal and wind resources to develop.

“And those are good paying jobs that can’t be sent overseas,” she said.

She said she also supports more drilling for oil and development of coal resources.

Derby called for reform that makes affordable health care available to everyone.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.