WASHINGTON — Rep. Joe Heck bucked House Republican leaders on Thursday in voting against the party’s budget plan for next year.
Heck was one of 10 GOP lawmakers who voted against the so-called Ryan budget, named after its principal author, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
The Republican-controlled House still passed the budget, 221-207, sending it to the Senate, where it has been declared dead on arrival. The Democrat-controlled Senate is voting on its own budget plan this week.
All House Democrats voted against the Ryan budget, including Nevada Reps. Steven Horsford and Dina Titus. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., did not vote, having returned home to prepare for the funeral of his mother, Joy, who died Tuesday.
Heck had voted for Ryan-authored Republican budgets during his first two years in the House. He departed the Capitol on Thursday without taking questions about the latest vote.
“The policy proposals contained in this nonbinding resolution indicate the priorities of this budget, and when those proposals disproportionately affect our state, my vote indicates my priority and that priority is Nevada,” Heck said in a statement issued by his office.
Heck spokesman Greg Lemon said the lawmaker was concerned about a provision in the document that suggests Congress send 70 percent of profits from certain federal land sales to the Treasury rather than allow them to be spent locally.
Some Nevada lawmakers said they feared that provision might divert funding that Nevada receives under a 1998 federal law governing federal land auctions in the Las Vegas Valley.
Heck also was troubled the budget called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act health care reform without an apparent path to an alternative, Lemon said.
“He was concerned there was no replacement mechanism for the health care law,” Lemon said. “He has always been a ‘repeal, repair and replace’ guy, and this was just repeal.”
Democrats had no hesitation in voting against the GOP budget, which seeks to balance the federal budget in 10 years by reducing projected spending by $4.6 trillion, overhauling the tax code and restructuring Medicare.
“It is not a path to prosperity,” Horsford said after the vote. “It is a path to austerity for the middle class, working families, seniors, and children.”
In his statement, Heck said he remained in agreement with GOP budget goals.
“There is a dire need for us to reduce spending, address the major drivers of our debt, and grow the economy by balancing the budget,” he said. “I have voted to reduce spending, I have voted to repeal and replace Obamacare, and I have co-sponsored and voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment.”
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.