The U.S. Capitol building as seen on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. (Geoff Livingston/Courtesy under Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0; https://flic.kr/p/SCLbyg)

It was far from a quiet week in Washington D.C. as the Senate pushed full steam ahead on tax reform while conversations about sexual harassment by members of Congress continued to percolate, including allegations against Rep. Ruben Kihuen that surfaced Friday.

The late-breaking news of a former campaign staffer accusing Kihuen of sexually harassing her quickly spread on Twitter. By late Friday evening, Kihuen had put out a release as had his Democratic colleagues, with Rep. Jacky Rosen calling for his resignation in a statement to The Indy, Rep. Dina Titus implying he should step down and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto stopping short. Kihuen said he sincerely apologized “for anything I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable” but that he doesn’t “recall any of the circumstances she described.” (Heller responded in a statement to a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist.)

Earlier on Friday and in the week, members of the congressional delegation put out a variety of press releases focusing on tax reform discussions in the Senate to calls for hearings on gun control measures.

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, known for his few and far between frequency of press releases, put out two missives this week, including one voicing his support for bringing legislation on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to the House floor by the end of the year. Titus pushed Congress to consider legislation to regulate bump stocks, devices use to speed up the rate of gunfire, this week.

Most of Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s focus this week was on tax reform, calling the discussion a “pivotal point” for Washington D.C., while Cortez Masto tackled a number of different issues, from leadership changes at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the rise of hate crimes.

For a full recap of what press releases the delegation put out this week, read here:

DEAN HELLER

Number of press releases issued this week: 9

The details: Most of Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s attention this week was on the Senate’s tax reform proposal. He put out four different news releases on the subject. Heller called the tax reform discussion a “pivotal point” for Washington D.C., saying that his goal with the bill is to “give the kind of relief that the middle-class has been asking for, for the last generation” at an event on Wednesday, remarks his staff highlighted in a press release.

“I do believe that the average American after the last 10 years doesn’t believe that that’s true anymore,” Heller said. “And that is the goal behind this initiative, that’s the goal behind this tax reform – to give the kind of relief that the middle-class has been asking for, begging for, for the last generation. And we are going to provide that for them.”

But another big topic for Heller was the reauthorization of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expired on Sept. 30. The House passed a CHIP funding bill last month, but the Senate has yet to do so.

Heller introduced a stopgap measure on Friday that would allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to suspend its statutory formula and use all available redistribution funds to allow state to be fully funded through the end of December. CMS recently granted Nevada $5.6 million in redistribution funds.

The senior senator also wrote a letter with his colleague, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to act quickly to fund the program.

“As you continue working towards a path forward on CHIP reauthorization, we urge you to swiftly advance a renewal of federal funding for this program that will provide children and families in Nevada and across the nation with the certainty they deserve,” the senators wrote.

Heller also highlighted efforts to protect veterans from from “dangerous medical providers” and strengthen health care for veterans.

Press release subject lines:

  • 11/27: In Case You Missed It: Senate Bill Delivers Tax Relief for Nevadans
  • 11/28: Heller and Manchin to Congress: Pass Our Bill to Protect Veterans from Dangerous Medical Providers
  • 11/29: Heller Votes to Advance Senate Tax Relief Bill
  • 11/29: Heller on Senate Tax Relief Bill: “We are at a Pivotal Point”
  • 11/29: Heller to Join Colleagues, Senior White House Director, Grassroots Leaders at Tax Event TODAY
  • 11/29: U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Passes Bill Strengthening Veterans’ Health Care with Key Heller Provisions
  • 12/1: Heller, Cortez Masto Urge Senate Leaders to Take Swift Action in Funding CHIP
  • 12/1: Heller Introduces Bill to Fund CHIP through December
  • 12/1: Heller Applauds EPA Announcement to Help Nevada’s Mining Industry

CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO

Number of press releases issued this week: 7

The details: Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto took on a number of issues this week in her press releases, but two missives from her staff focused on leadership changes within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The president appointed White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as temporary CFPB head after the former director announced he was stepping down, even though the former director had named his former chief of staff as acting director.

Cortez Masto called on the president to allow Leandra English, the former chief of staff, to take on the role in light of the vacancy and said that her office would recognize English’s leadership. She also called on Trump to quickly nominate a replacement if he wants someone else to run the CFPB.

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to prevent economic meltdowns like the one we saw in 2008, which decimated Nevada borrowers, homeowners and taxpayers,” Cortez Masto said. “President Trump should quickly nominate a replacement who puts consumers first and will fulfill the mission of the CFPB independently and effectively.”

Cortez Masto also called for a “full, fair and expedient” investigation into Kihuen and any other members of Congress who have men or women come forward with allegations of misconduct in a press release Friday night. Earlier in the week, the senator applauded a grant to the Nevada Department of Transportation, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the rise of hate crimes across the United States and introduced a bill to repeal the tax deduction for local lobbying expenses.

Press release subject lines:

  • 11/27: Cortez Masto: I Reject Trump Administration Effort to Interfere with Independent Consumer Agency
  • 11/27: Cortez Masto Applauds Federal Highway Administration’s $3 Million Emergency Relief Grant to Nevada Department of Transportation
  • 11/28: Cortez Masto, Colleagues Pen Letter to AG Sessions on the Alarming Rise of Hate Crimes Across the U.S.
  • 11/28: Cortez Masto: Part-time Director at CFPB a Slap in the Face to Millions of American Consumers
  • 11/29: Cortez Masto Introduces Legislation to Eliminate Taxpayer Subsidies for Lobbyists
  • 11/29: Cortez Masto Celebrates the Life & Legacy of Joe Crowley
  • 12/1: Cortez Masto Statement on Sexual Harassment

DINA TITUS

Number of press releases issued this week: 7

The details: Democratic Rep. Dina Titus was the only member of Nevada’s congressional delegation this week to highlight that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia’s ambassador. Titus said the news demonstrated how “President Trump’s recklessness continues to parade itself in front of the world.”

Titus also applauded the committee passage of a bipartisan bill she co-sponsored to update the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to ensure that federal and state authorities comply with existing law and report criminal history records to the system database. She also urged Congress to pass one of two bills to regulate bump stocks, the devices used in the October 1 shooting to speed up the rate of gunfire.

“Nearly two months after the 1 October tragedy, we must do more to prevent the senseless loss of life rather than jeopardize public safety with a bill that allows concealed weapons to be carried anywhere in the U.S.,” Titus said. 

She also implied Kihuen should step down: “Ruben needs to step up and do what’s right for the people of Nevada.”

The congresswoman also applauded the IRS’s approval of nonprofit 501(c)(3) status for the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund in the wake of the October 1 shooting. She also urged Congress to pass a “clean” bill to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program after Republicans included several provisions making changes to the Affordable Care Act that Democrats opposed in a bill passed by the House earlier this month. (Titus and Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen voted against it, while Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen voted for it.)

Press release subject lines:

  • 11/28: TITUS ANNOUNCES $1.9 MILLION GRANT TO SUNRISE CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION
  • 11/29: TITUS APPLAUDS IRS APPROVAL OF LAS VEGAS VICTIMS FUND 501 (C) (3) STATUS
  • 11/29: Rep. Titus Commends Committee Passage of New Bipartisan Background Checks Bill, Opposes Concealed Carry Reciprocity
  • 12/1: TITUS STATEMENT ON FLYNN CHARGE
  • 12/1: TITUS STATEMENT ON CHIP FUNDING
  • 12/1: TITUS STATEMENT ON GOP’S INACTION ON BILLS TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE
  • 12/1: Titus Statement on Sexual Harassment

JACKY ROSEN

Number of press releases issued this week: 5

The details: In the wake of an outpouring of sexual harassment allegations across the country and including some inside Congress, Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen signed onto legislation to end the existing settlement process for sexual harassment and assault claims in Congress. The bill would bar taxpayer dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment and assault claims.

“There should be no tolerance for sexual harassment anywhere, let alone in the halls of Congress,” Rosen said. “Members of Congress should not be using taxpayer money to cover up outrageous and inexcusable behavior, and this bill would put an immediate end to this ridiculous system.”

Rosen also co-sponsored another bill that would bar members of Congress convicted of bribery, perjury, conspiracy or other crimes to continue collecting government pensions. Rosen said she is “proud to work across the aisle” on what she called “commonsense legislation.”

She also highlighted a vote on a bill that would allow Nevada communities to remediate and redevelop contaminated property, several measures she sponsored that were included in a defense spending bill and her opposition to the Republican tax plan.

Press release subject lines:

  • 11/27: ICYMI – ROSEN-SPONSORED MEASURES INCLUDED IN DEFENSE SPENDING BILL
  • 11/29: ICYMI – Las Vegas Sun: Working Nevada families lose, wealthy win in GOP tax scheme
  • 11/30: REP. ROSEN VOTES TO EXPAND CLEANUP AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS FOR NEVADA LANDS
  • 12/1: REP. ROSEN SUPPORTS BIPARTISAN BILL TO ELIMINATE TAXPAYER-FUNDED SEXUAL HARASSMENT SETTLEMENTS FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
  • 12/1: REP. ROSEN CO-SPONSORS BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO PREVENT CORRUPT POLITICIANS FROM RECEIVING TAXPAYER-FUNDED PENSIONS

RUBEN KIHUEN

Number of press releases issued this week: 4

The details: Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen put out a statement late Friday afternoon responding to allegations that he sexually harassed a former 25-year-old campaign staffer during his 2016 congressional campaign, as reported in a BuzzFeed story released earlier that afternoon.

“The staff member in question was a valued member of my team. I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable,” Kihuen said in the statement. “I take this matter seriously as it is not indicative of who I am, but I want to make it clear that I don’t recall any of the circumstances she described. I was raised in a strong family that taught me to treat women with the utmost dignity and respect. I have spent my fifteen years in public service fighting for women’s equality, and I will continue to do so.”

Earlier in the week, two of Kihuen’s press releases focused on transportation issues in Nevada, applauding a $2 million emergency relief grant to repair damaged highways due to floods in rural Nevada and calling on Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to prioritize funding the Interstate 11 project through northern Nevada.

“Economic and demographic changes have left these communities searching for fresh economic development opportunities, and I-11, could be a large piece of the puzzle in ensuring the continued viability of these communities,” Kihuen wrote in the letter.

Press release subject lines:

  • 11/27: REP. KIHUEN CALLS FOR INTERSTATE 11 NORTHERN ROUTE TO CONSIDER ECONOMIC BENEFITS TO WESTERN NEVADA COMMUNITIES
  • 11/29: REP. KIHUEN APPLAUDS $2 MILLION EMERGENCY RELIEF DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION GRANT
  • 12/1: REPS. KIHUEN, ROSEN REITERATE CALLS FOR HEARING ON BUMP STOCKS TWO MONTHS AFTER LAS VEGAS SHOOTING
  • 12/1: STATEMENT FROM REP. KIHUEN IN RESPONSE TO ARTICLE RELEASED BY BUZZFEED NEWS

MARK AMODEI

Number of press releases issued this week: 2

The details: In an uncharacteristic move, Republican Rep. Mark Amodei put out two entire press releases this week (even one missive is typically rare), one mourning the death of University of Nevada, Reno president Joe Crowley and another highlighting his support for bringing legislation on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the House floor for a vote before the end of the year. Amodei said action on the DACA program is “absolutely necessary” following years of “coulda’, woulda’, shoulda’” by Congress.

“Once again, this falls into the category of I’d rather be criticized for attempting to move an issue toward a solution, than watching nothing happen on issues for years,” Amodei said. “As I have said before, it’s impossible to defend doing nothing in circumstances like this.”

Amodei also said that he “respectfully” disagrees with any of his colleagues who believe that DACA should be inserted into the end of the year spending bill, tax reform legislation or any other major piece of legislation.

Press release subject lines:

  • 11/29: Amodei Statement on the Passing of Dr. Joseph Crowley
  • 11/30: Amodei Signs Discharge Petition to Vote on DACA by Year’s End
INDY FAST FACTS Mark Amodei Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: June 12, 1958 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) University of Pacific (J.D.) Other public offices held: Nevada Republican Party chairman (2010-2011) State senator, Capital District (1998-2010) Assemblyman (1996-1999) Total donations: $3,430,447 (2009-2018) Top donors: Las Vegas Sands $42,100 Barrick Gold $39,000 Sierra Nevada Corp $36,500 Hartman & Hartman $35,700 American Society of Anesthesiologists $35,000 Last Report: 12/31/17 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Dina Titus Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 1st Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2013-present Birthdate: May 23, 1950 Education: College of William and Mary (B.A.) University of Georgia (M.A.) Florida State University, Tallahassee (Ph.D.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (2009-2010) State Senator, District 7 (1989-2008) Total donations: $8,029,822 (2007-2018) Top donors:  MGM Resorts International $131,060 University of Nevada $60,269 Rocky Research $58,300 Carpenters & Joiners Union $57,500 Barrick Gold $52,500 Last Report: 12/31/17 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Jacky Rosen Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birthdate: August 2, 1957 Education: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (B.A.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $3,220,875 (2017-2018) Top donors: EMILY's List $178,768 League of Conservation Voters $80,270 DE Shaw & Co $66,800 Omni New York $32,400 Varian Medical Systems $23,100 Last Report: 12/31/17 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Ruben Kihuen Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 4th Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birhdate: April 25, 1980 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A.) Other public offices held: State Senator, District 10 (2010-2016) State Assemblyman, District 11 (2007-2010) Total donations: $987,929 (2012-2018) Top donors: Naqvi Injury Law $10,800 Border Health $10,000 Jobs, Opportunities & Education PAC $10,000 Tpp Export America $10,000 UNITE HERE $10,000 Last Report: 12/31/2017 Credit:  Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Catherine Cortez Masto Job: U.S. Senator Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birthdate: March 29, 1964 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) Gonzaga University (J.D.) Other public offices held: Nevada State Attorney General (2007-2015) Total donations: $20,597,201 (2011-2018) Top donors: EMILY's List $565,679 League of Conservation Voters $401,508 J Street $185,558 University of California $76,542 University of Nevada $56,579 Last Report: 12/31/2017 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Dean Heller Job: U.S. Senator Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: May 10, 1960 Education: University of Southern California (B.A.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada's 2nd Congressional District (2007-2011) Nevada Secretary of State (1995-2007) State Assemblyman (1990-1994) Total donations: $21,463,574 (2005-2018) Top donors: Station Casinos $115,200 Votesane PAC $92,000 MGM Resorts International $74,000 Blackstone Group $48,400 Capital Group $38,800 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
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