tv U.S. Senate Sen. Dean Heller Farewell Speech CSPAN December 13, 2018 7:04pm-7:29pm EST
long-standing u.s. human rights values. in favor of a more transactional approach regarding saudi arabia. it is a chance for democrats to point out to their grassroots and americans at large, that this president is a historical in the way he governs. republicans that may privately share the concerns felt uncomfortable sharing them publicly because of the presidents continued strong support with republican grassroots voters. >> rachel, we appreciate your time. we will keep following you on twitter @ oswald rachel. and you are at cq roll call. >> thank you for having me. >> early today in number retiring senators give their farewell speeches on the senate floor. including jeff flake. dean heller and claire mccaskill. >> madam president, i rise it with gratitude to adjust colors and member of my staff to reflect on one of my life greatest honors. that is serving the people of
the great state of nevada. i would like to begin by thanking them for giving me the profound honor of representing the vatican and the united states congress for 12 years. and then in the united states senate for almost 8 years. nevada, thank you for granting me the privilege of working every day for a state that i am so proud to call my home. of course, like to thank my immediate family. especially my wife, for being on my side. for nearly 30 years of public service. to my children, hilary, harris, drew and me. to their spouses -- thank you for your patience. your understanding and your tolerance of this process. i would be remiss if i did not think my parents jack and janet heller. setting the right example and religious tone in our home growing up. to my father-in-law, richard, all of my wife's family, thank you for raising such a wonderful daughter. a sister, cousin and aunt.
madam president, i have five brothers and sisters. they all played a vital role in my upbringing. so thank you to jack, tammy, sarah, matt and bryant. all of these individuals i mentioned gave me their steadfast support. in my journey from nevada legislature to the secretary of states office, to the united states house of representatives and to the united states senate possible. i can count on them every step of the way. we all know how important our staff is and i'm no exception. i've been fortunate to have two staff members with me my whole tenure in congress. i would like to highlight both of them. my chief of staff, is from north carolina. i know more about north carolina that i thought i ever would. he came to me from another senators office.after 12 years, we talked about writing
about together because together, we've seen and been through a lot. from the great recession impact on nevada, the visit from senator reid to my house office. and -- resignation. obamacare, dodd frank, immigration reform, tax reform,f changing the courts to just name a few. he has always been there. in these chambers there is a lot of swings and arrows. and it takes in experts to walk through the minefields. no one does it alone. i've always had him by my side. i thank him for his service to me, but more important, for his service to the state of nevada. scott -- also served the office with distinction. those who know scott, those who know him, who have worked with him, know that he is a problem solver. it did not matter which hat he was asked to wear.
he wore it with pride. i will miss his hard work, his work on the banking committee, loyalty and his great sense of humor. every office needs one a scott. i would like to mention one more. paul has become a good friend of tamine. journalist f7 half years ago. i have navigated some complicated issues. and no one can grasp an issue like her. in the last campaign she served as my chief of staff as others relegated to the state of nevada. so thank you, congratulations. on thanksgiving day she introduced liam to the world. again, congratulations to sarah, raiment and big brother, james on the new addition, i would lyfinally like to recogni ashley, she oversees our state
esoperation that's been with us since the early days. of the house of representatives. whether it's putting together the top of the summit or put me up to speed on social issues, actually someone i can always count on. in the past decade i've know she has become like family to me. more importantly like family to lynn. o,she is based in reno. and we're fortunate to have her here in washington d.c. today. i would like to recognize her along with matt, scott, sarah and many members of my staff who are here today on the floor of the united states senate. we have a great team, i have had a great team from top to bottom. naturalized citizens whose family came to this city, seeking a sebetter life. professional social workers, and multiple combat veterans. every member of my team in reno, elko, las vegas and washington d.c., has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of nevadans.
madam president, my histaff dedication, enthusiasm and work ethics go unmatched. i asked for unanimous consent to have the list of current and former staff and names be printed on the record for this legislative day. >> without objection. >> thank you. madam president, i would like to shift gears for a moment to mention several topics that demanded a lot of my time and a lot of my energy. when it comes to legislative successes, tax reform, changes on the courts, banking reform, go down the list. we have accomplished -- think everyone here in this chamber will agree that what we can never fully repay, our debt to the nations heroes, we can do everything in our power to show our gratitude for their selflessness and their sacrifice. these men and women return home after leaving their families to fight for our country, it is our turn to fight for them.
and make sure that each and every nevada veteran receives the treatment they need, the services that they need and the skills that they need to get a job to take care of their families. i see that responsibility as a duty and a privilege. in fact, i've said this before and i'll say it again. the greatest compliment i ever received, in public office, was when i overheard one veteran say to another, if you need help, call senator heather's office. as a senior member of the senate committee on veterans affairs, i've had the opportunity to give our veterans a strong voice. in washington d.c.. under chairman -- leadership we made great strides bringing greater accountability to the va including the benefits, and support that our veterans have earned. for example early this year we push the historic mission act over the finish line for the new law directs when the $50 billion to the va healthcare system so the va can hire more
high-quality, and allow vitamins to get the care they need near their homes and on their erschedules. we are also expanding the va caregivers program which provided -- families of disabled veterans that require care in their home. previously only post 9/11 veterans were able to apply. now veterans from every era are eligible. this is particularly important to many veterans in nevada. they told me how critical it was that we get veterans more access to this program. and these are just a few examples to fix a problem that came up in my discussions jeremy veterans advisory council meetings. i establish these groups of veterans in the northern and southern part of the state to speak frequently and directly with them about the challenges they are facing and the problems that needed to be fixed.francis, just a few years ago the reno va was one of the worst ranked offices in
the nation. this was the time when veterans were waiting for on average, 400 days for a disability claim to be approved. this was bnot acceptable so i teamed up with senator bob casey from pennsylvania. to hold the va feet to the fire and as a result of the implementation in the 21st century of this delivery. the backlog was reduced by nearly 85 percent and 500,000 of our military heroes around the country are no longer waiting for their fihealth benefits. we also provided accountability to expedite fire authority. a bad va employee and overhauled the va appeals process so veterans do not have to wait years for a decision. and the president signed the bill into law, in reno, last year. expander veterans access, they
-- deliver $33.5 million in federal funding so the veterans do not have to go five hundred miles to assess estate veterans home. a walk through the construction site, when i was there last month, the completion of the state-of-the-art facility. i did the same for veterans in southern nevada. i the approval of the new, larger clinic in pahrump. for veterans affairs berries attracting an education to earn a living i introduced a bill that has benefits for guard and reserve members that ensure g.i. bill is available to veterans for life. and after nevada was ranked among states, second with the highest-rated veterans suicides and experiencing a dr. shortage, i authorized a new law. that gives veterans were access to mental health care services and treatment. i am grateful for the
opportunity to work with chairman isaacson, ranking member tester, senate leadership and this administration to enact laws that provide veterans with support and benefits that they are owed. and we can and we must do even better. it is my hope that the next congress, republican and democrats can continue to work together to get things down for our veterans. madam president, on another topic, tax reform. when i delivered my speech on the floor of the united states senate, nevada onwas struggling after being knocked down by the great recession. a time when the data led the nation in home foreclosures and we had double digits unemployment, today, nevada is leading the nation private sector job growth. the housing market has recovered, home prices are increasing. now, we are one of the fastest growing states in the nation. nevada is booming because this congress delivered tax cuts
that put more money in america's paychecks their pocketbooks and pensions. and progrowth policies that have led to more jobs, higher wages and more opportunities for nevadans. as a member of the u.s. senate committee on finance, authorized the jobs act which include doubling the child tax credit from $1000-$2000 per child. since the law was enacted tens of thousands of jobs in the state of nevada had been created and recently the unemployment rate hit a new 11 year low. the lowest rate since the 2000 and economic downturn. the result of the new law, tens of thousands of nevadans have benefited from raises, benefits and extended benefits on top of their paychecks and strengthen pensions. i will give you a couple of examples of southpoint hotel
and casino doubled the workers bonuses. developers of a project in las vegas strip, committed to creating over 10,000 jobs. the prospector hotel in ely gave employees bonuses and raised starting wages. all direct result of the tax reform bill. nevada's economy is back on track. and hope the congress will continue to advance policies that keep us on that path. to help nevada workers and hard-working families to get ahead. let me move on. coming to washington to see my number one focus has always been the people of nevada. and putting the state priorities first. for example i worked with martin heinrich to have the developing of new alternative energy technologies to support nevada's energy diversification. early this year i was proud to
host a bipartisan annual summit. and i worked with senator feinstein throughout my career to deliver resources to protect the tahoe basin and fight devastating wildfires. when congress came together to approve a five-year highway bill, i was able to secure my infrastructure priorities to expand interstate 11 up to northern nevada. whether deleting the nevada, the republican charge to extend employment benefits in 2014 when yvette is an employment rate was nearly double, what it is now. while breaking with my party to pass the violence against women's act. ivo is been willing to work with anyone that has good ideas. dad move nevada families and communities forward. so while wi'm pleased that i'm able to work with colleagues to turn these ideas into over 100 pieces of legislation, that are now law, this job is more than advancing good policies. it is about helping people.
and that is what's most important. i work for nevadans. when someone comes to me with a problem, or cause office for help, we do everything we do and all that we do, in an effort to help them. when the va refused to pay homeless veteran $40,000, after he won his appeal, we make sure the veteran got paid so he could get back on n his feet. while the constituent had a liver transplant was denied coverage and left without insurance. he enrolled in the marketplace exchange. when the time came to re-enroll, the exchange denied him and forced him to go without insurance until my office intervened. take for example the woman that came to us after being charged in medicare penalty about 40 percent each month. my staff worked with the local offices to secure reimbursement over thousand dollars and adjust the monthly premium to save that constituent potentially thousands of
dollars. and what the constituent spent and i must try to get her social security retirement benefits, were able to get her a resolution to properly begin receiving her payments. finally, when a navy veteran was in jeopardy of losing his home, when he was temporarily out of work, we contacted the lender of his mortgage, on his behalf, and ensured he was able to keep his home. these are just a few examples of what this job is really all about. making life better for people that you work for. and madam president, i know i'm not alone. i truly believe that is what drives all members of congress and it is to serve their constituents. no matter your party, no matter your state, no matter what you did before you got here. so, madam president, before i got here i grew up with two parents and five siblings who like nevadans, embodied that spirit.
i would have to pay tribute not only to my family, friends and mentors who have helped me along the way, but all of my constituents that have talked to me a little bit about what makes nevada different. nevadans are pioneers. not afraid to take risks. to dream, to put in hard work or to start from scratch. we are self-starters. we are builders and trailblazers. we lay down the track to connect the mines for gold and silver in the north. we shoveled mud drove through rocks and skilled concrete. in the mojave desert we created the entertainment capitol of the world. one characteristic outsiders may look as this, we are fighters. and no other event in our history serves as an example of that trait in the aftermath of the october 1 mass shooting in las vegas. a tragedy that truly shook our state. i have spoken about this on the
senate floor about the incredible harold people that helped lead concertgoers and get the whole community are that darkness. these individuals were uniforms or not, they stepped up to help others. and their actions helped us grieve and start to heal together. this immeasurable pain, suffering and devastation inflicted by one man, was a profound innate and immediate human response from nevadans across the state. like many nevadans, i saw firsthand the strong sense of family. their faith and strength in the wake of the october 1 shooting. riley. i will carry those moments of unity and generosity with me. madam president, during the 1989 address, former president george h. w. bush once said, we know what works. freedom works. we know what is rightt'. freedom is right. we know how to secure a more
just and prosperous life for man on earth.perous life for free markets, free speech, free elections iland the exercise of free will unhampered by the state. regardless of what party affiliation you have, i still think that we can all agree with those words. we can all agree that we are great ate to live in a country defended by men and women who stand guard to defend our way of life. we can all agree we are fortunate to live in a great country in which every aspiration or dream is possible to achieve. and we can all agree that this is because freedom works. and that freedom is right. no, not everything comes easy and i would be lying if i said others didn't have to fight harder than some. but that job you want to get, the school you want to get into, that business you want to start or the idea that you would like to see come to light, is possible in america.
a country with the son of a mechanic and a school cook had the opportunity to deliver the newspaper to then governor michael callahan, go to school with then senator harry reed's sons, get his education at the same with high school as the late senator -- or play basketball with brian sandoval. a place with that same kid to united states senate. my goal, always has been to make nevada a better place today. a better place to raise a family, not only when were you can find a job but a place we can have a long-term career. madam president, i would like to end with this. my daughter hilary, and her husband adopted a young child from china. she was abandoned as an infant
at a bus station. her name is ava. she was raised in an orphanage for the first two years of her life. my daughter and her family first met ava, she did not cry when she was hungry. she did not cry when she was tired. she did not cry when she needed to be changed. and she did not cry when she was behurt. why? because it did not matter. she was always on someone else's time. but, she rydid cry when they to her shoes off to put her to bed. you see, in an orphanage, kids sleep with their shoes on so they don't get lost. ava, at two years of age, had never slept without her shoes on. now, she did cry the first time when they bathe her in a tub of
water. she did cry, let me go back. she did cry the first time when they bathe her in a tub of water. in the often as you take a cloth bath. so ava had never been in a bathtub. today, when ava falls, someone is there to pick her up. today when she cries, someone is there to wipe away the tears. today when she is hungry, someone is there to feed her. and today when she's tired, there is always someone there to tuck her into bed. and when ava grows up in this
country, there will be plenty of doors that she can open that would otherwise have been closed. and i will never forget -- i will never forget seeing my newest granddaughter in the arms of the vice president knowing that her life had changed forever. so madam president, this is the job at hand. to uphold the country long-standing reputation as the land of opportunity. so i am an optimist. i rremain one after leaving th great chamber because i've seen remarkable moments here in washington. from its early days when henry clay, webster and john calhoun were gnavigating a divided nation and fighting to save our young democracy. i believe our nations future is bright. and that of nevada's future is
bright. my heart has and always will be in nevada. a state that i love and a place where i am so proud to call home. nevada, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work for you. thank you, madam president. [applause] >> mr. president, from arizona. >> mr. president, like to begin today by noting that half the people of arizona and america have been truly lucky, my mother or father would have served in the united states house of representatives and in the senate. everything i know about what irmatters most in life, i learn first at their dinner table. but for many reasons, they were otherwise preoccupied raising and feeding 11 children. working the land, running cattle to keep the business going.