The vulnerable Republican senator from Nevada tried to gamble away health insurance for his own voters. Democrats are preparing to fight back.
A dead-of-night vote saw the dramatic failure of Senate Republicans’ fraudulent “skinny repeal,” which even they knew would be a disaster and tried to pretend they were only voting for so that the House could change everything in it.
The vote was a huge victory for the resistance and already has conservative pundits predicting Obamacare repeal might be dead for good.
And it leaves Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who voted yes, in a very tough position.
Heller had indicated that he would not support the bill. Donald Trump even threatened Heller over his opposition, saying, “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”
But in the end, Heller voted to strip 16 million people of health care, and broke his promise not to defund Planned Parenthood. Moreover, his actions starkly contrast with the three other Republicans who cast the deciding votes against the bill, shattering his reputation as a moderate.
According to Public Policy Polling, Nevada voters reject the GOP health plan by 55 to 37, and disapproved of Dean Heller’s vote on this week’s Senate motion to advance the bills by 50 to 43.
These are dangerous numbers for Heller, who is up for re-election next year, in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton and elected Democrat Catherine Marie Cortez Masto to the Senate in 2016.
Heller is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in 2018, and Democrats are ready to hold him accountable.
One Democratic congresswoman, Jacky Rosen, has already launched her campaign for Heller’s Senate seat, and another, Dina Titus, is also considering a run. Polls show both of them are competitive against Heller.
Rosen is already coming out swinging. On Friday morning, she released a statement eviscerating Heller for selling out his constituents:
Last month, Senator Heller promised that he could not vote for legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans. Last night, he voted to do just that. No politician from our state has ever been more dishonest about their intentions, more misleading about their position or more disingenuous to their constituents. This was the biggest broken political promise in modern Nevada history.
Jessica Mackler, president of American Bridge, put out her own scathing statement on Heller’s vote:
Dean Heller lied to the people of Nevada, plain and simple. Last month, Heller promised that he would oppose efforts to strip health care from thousands of Nevadans. Last night, Heller betrayed every single one of them.
The cowardice of the Senate Republicans who voted for a mess of a health repeal bill negotiated behind closed doors — and the spectacle of those senators begging the House to not pass their bill at the same moment they were voting in favor of it — has Democrats energized for a fight.
Nowhere is this more true than Nevada, where Heller promised voters he would hold out for a good deal, only to leap at the first slapdash deal Mitch McConnell offered him.
It is time to hold Republican lawmakers like Heller accountable for their failures.