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Heller calls for BLM hearings during appearance with Reid

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Updated: 4/18/2014 6:26 pm

 Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., called for Congressional hearings into the BLM’s stand-off with cattle rancher Cliven Bundy.

Heller requested the hearings during a joint appearance today with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on the KSNV-TV News 3 program “What’s Your Point?”

Nevada’s junior senator noted that he wants to determine “who drove” BLM policy into the tense standoff that ended Saturday.

Heller said that he took issue with the BLM “coming in with a paramilitary army. It made a lot of people very uncomfortable.”

“It’s obvious,” Reid noted, “the federal government can’t just walk away from this.”

Speaking Thursday, Reid equated Bundy and his supporters to “domestic terrorists.”

“Those people, who hold themselves out to be patriots, are not,” Reid said at the earlier event. “If there ever were an example of this,” Reid noted, “these are the guys.”

The Reid and Heller appearance was billed as the first joint TV appearance by the state’s two U.S. senators. Hosts Jeff Gillan and Amy Tarkanian questioned the men about the potential extension of long-term unemployment benefits – both men support them despite opposition from House Republicans. The two are also opposed to the legalization of most forms of Internet gambling, arguing that they would hurt traditional Nevada casinos.

“Dean and I can spend three days on the things we disagree on,” Reid said, “but we also agree on a lot of stuff.”

They were clearly split, however, on the issue of Bundy’s push to continue to graze his cattle on BLM land despite court orders going back to the 1990s, forbidding him to do so while requiring him to pay grazing fees owed the federal government.

“What Sen. Reid called ‘domestic terrorists,’ I called ‘patriots,’ ” said Heller, noting that he had previously introduced legislation that would see Nevadans assume a larger percentage of the state’s land. The federal government owns nearly 87 percent of the state.

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