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Heller Sitting in Catbird Seat

Much chatter this week about Sen. John Ensign’s announcement that will not be running for re-election (he could and SHOULD still resign) and the all-but-officially announced campaign of Rep. Dean Heller, who has chalked up a solid conservative voting record since going to DC, to run for the seat.

Most everyone expects Heller to clear the field, but Fred Weinberg, publisher of the Penny Press, inked a column yesterday urging folks to hold off on the coronation; suggesting that former state Sen. Bob Beers might be lured back into politics to give Heller a run for his money. And one former GOP party official I ran into in Carson City on Wednesday said Beers was seriously considering it.

But it would be an uphill battle. Heller’s not only in office while Beers is out, but he’s in office while his party controls the agenda in the House. Which means he’s not likely to be forced to make any bad votes while benefitting from casting a bunch of good votes. Yesterday was a perfect example.

As Heller’s press release pointed out, “The FHA Refinance program is funded with $8 billion in TARP funds. According to Treasury’s TARP Progress Report, only $50 million of this $8 billion had been disbursed as of February 3. The Administration originally estimated this program would help between 500,000 and 1.5 million homeowners. However, only 44 loans have been refinanced as of mid-February and only 245 applicants have been submitted, according to FHA Commissioner David Stevens.”

Yesterday Heller voted to kill this failed, useless program.

Oh, and Heller was also one of only 47 Members in the House who voted to cut spending each and every time they had the opportunity a couple weeks back during the Continuing Resolution debate. He is, as they say, sitting in the catbird seat.