(Thomas Mitchell/4TH ST8) To welcome the president to Nevada, this morning Congressman Mark Amodei, who currently represents most of the rural part of the state, and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki conducted a brief press conference phone call.
During the call they basically accused Obama of trying to distract voters from the real issue of the economy with his touting of a mortgage refinancing program that will do little for a few at a huge cost.
Amodei opened by noting that the federal government controls 85 percent of the land in Nevada arguing that they guy coming to Nevada today is essentially the landlord of the state.
Obama was to visit a family in Reno who refinanced their home under a federal program and obtained a lower monthly payment.
“Housing and all the things related to the economy in Nevada are job related,” the congressman said. “So we talk about wanting to do something for Nevada, especially Western Nevada, where the president is visiting today, there are several projects which are no-brainers — like the Yerington mine bill project, 800 jobs on the ground no cost to the government.”
He accused the administration and the Senate of dragging their feet, even though the project is in Lyon County, among the hardest hit by unemployment.
“If you want to talk about the economy in Nevada, talk about the administration’s proposal to triple grazing fees for the agriculture industry in Northern Nevada,” Amodei complained, going on to mention a project near Fallon that has been in the permitting process for 15 years and is still not approved.
Krolicki described Nevada as the epicenter for the housing market crisis, which was caused by the nation’s highest unemployment rate — more than 12 percent. He noted Nevada No. 1 in the country in percentage of homes with negative equity — a mortgage greater than the value of the home. While 23 percent of homes in the nation are underwater, the percentage in Nevada is 60 percent, the lieutenant governor pointed out.
Asked about home refinancing program the president planned to tout, Amodei remarked, “There’s been about as many people in the state that this program has helped, through Fannie and Freddie … he’s helped about as many people in the state as they’ve created jobs through green energy programs, at the cost of over a billion dollars. These are, in a word, failed policies.”
He dismissed the president’s concentration on one housing refinancing program as ignoring the real problem, which is the federal control of 85 percent of the land in the state and not pursuing development of that land to create jobs.
“So I’m looking at all this economic stuff, going, ‘What is going on here?’ Amodei said, mocking the presidential visit.
“‘Oh, but I’ve got a program over here based on my track record to help tens of people in Nevada.’ I’m just frustrated with it. There’s just no record of success on which to say, ‘OK, let’s do some more of that.’”