Monday September 17,2012 : MORE POLITICAL ACRIMONY OVER POKER LEGALISATION BILL
Heller accuses Reid of political agenda
The political relationship between Nevada Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller (Democrat and Republican party members respectively) worsened over the weekend when Heller claimed in an interview that Reid was more interested in supporting fellow Democrat, Rep. Shelley Berkley in her bid for Heller's senatorial position than he was in passing the online poker legalization bill at the heart of the row.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Heller claimed Reid could have moved on the bill three months ago but deliberately delayed it on the run up to the November 6 elections for political purposes aimed at improving Berkley's chances against him.
The two politicians have been sniping at each other for the past week or more, with Reid attempting to impose a deadline on Heller's task of mustering at least 15 Republican votes for the legalization bill, and Heller suggesting that the House of Representatives may be a better bet for the bill than the Senate.
The public argument has embroiled the co-author of the bill, the anti-online gambling Senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl, who said earlier this week that the issue had made the achievement of legalised online poker more difficult.
Heller emphasised that he has not given up on the bill and continues to attempt to persuade fellow Republicans to support it, hopefully in the lame duck session of Congress following the November elections.
A Reid spokesman said earlier this week: "Instead of fighting for Nevada and trying to secure his colleague's support, Senator Heller has now chosen to question Senator Reid's intentions and lay blame on everyone but himself."
"That's unfortunate. Since May, Senator Heller has been tasked to secure Republican support, and Senator Reid has been willing to move on a bill as soon as he was told the support was there. To date, Senator Heller has been unable to secure any support. Senator Reid will continue to fight to seek bipartisan support to legalize online poker that is important to Nevada."
Reid's office also released the content of a letter he wrote to Heller, in which he observed: "I did not want this issue to become political in nature but I cannot stand by while you abdicate your responsibility as a U.S. Senator representing Nevada.
"Nevadans deserve someone who will fight for them."