Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, announced Monday that an unidentified person had broken into his office on Sunday in order to leave a threatening note regarding the American Health Care Act.
The note warned Heller, who has not decided whether he will vote for or against the bill, according to NBC News, that the unidentified person would lose health insurance if the bill is passed, and suggested killing Heller if it did. The exact contents of the note have not been released.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department received notice from the security system around 9 a.m. Sunday, according to the Nevada Independent, that someone had broken into Heller’s office. Officers found no evidence that a burglary had taken place but found the note left for Heller near the door to his office, according to a police report of the incident.
In recent weeks, Heller has spoken up about concerns related to the Senate version of the AHCA. When the first version of the Senate bill was unveiled in June, he strongly voiced opposition, citing concerns that the Medicaid cuts would be too damaging to his constituents. Heller was the fifth senator to come out questioning the contents of the bill.
“This bill would mean a loss of coverage for millions of Americans, and many Nevadans. I’m telling you right now, I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” Heller said in a press conference June 23.
At the conference, he asserted his belief that Medicaid expansion must remain intact, adding that “it’s going to be very difficult to get me to a ‘yes.'”
That yes did not come, despite a round of negotiations. After a July 13 closed Republican briefing session on new amendments to the bill, Heller said he was still undecided about whether he would support the bill.
Heller was also opposed to the House version of the bill, and said in May “I will not support (the AHCA) in its current form in the Senate, and am confident that what the Senate considers and approves will be different than the House bill.”
The Las Vegas lawmaker is up for reelection in 2018, and the only Republican candidate up for reelection in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton. Political commentators have declared Heller a “man to watch” in the vote as it goes forward, given his ambivalence and political position.
Multiple Republican senators have reported incidents with citizens in recent weeks. At least two individuals, apparently motivated by the AHCA vote, have threatened Republican lawmakers or their staffers with violence, reports the Washington Post.
Thanks to an emergency surgery for Arizona Sen. John McCain, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose to delay the vote of the AHCA until they can get every Republican in the Senate.
However, on Monday evening two more Republican senators – Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah – announced that they were opposed to the bill. Republicans officially do not have enough votes to push the bill through. The bill needs a 52-person majority to pass, and the Senate currently has 54 Republicans, with four officially defecting from the bill. A CNN count found that 41 senators had not committed to voting for the bill.
In a statement, Sen. Lee echoed Heller’s concerns that the bill did not go far enough to lower costs for families, “nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”
Moran also agreed that the bill did not lower costs enough. He also said it “fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address health care’s rising costs,” and criticized the Republican tactic of crafting the bill behind closed doors instead of opening it up to public comment.
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