U.S. Rep. Joe Heck blamed a "badly broken federal government" for the recession that strangled Nevada's economy and said stability in regulatory and tax policies will provide an economic climate needed for businesses to grow and begin hiring.
"Far too often political expediency trumped sound policy as decisions were made. That lack of leadership seeped into our daily lives and rotted America's economic foundations to the core," Heck said Monday in a speech Monday to the Nevada Legislature.
Heck, a Republican freshman lawmaker, applauded Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for proposing a $5.8 billion budget without raising taxes and the GOP caucus for standing firm behind the governor's resolve.
"We must work together to return government spending to responsible levels. That means making difficult decisions to bring government in line with the private sector, it means demanding accountability and performance, and it means forcing government to do more with less," he said.
Other states, he said, are recovering from the recession more quickly "because they listened to small businesses, they listened to the people who create jobs and they reduced government spending without increasing taxes," he said.
"They did this to inspire confidence and establish predictability."
Heck, a physician, said both parties were guilty of failed leadership, and "both sides have sinned."
"We don't have to agree on everything, but we must view each idea and each piece of legislation with an eye toward the future of our nation instead of its impact on the next election," he said.
On the economy, he said, "Both parties have been guilty of overspending and politicians from both sides have failed to prioritize, demand accountability, and make difficult decisions -- they've failed to lead."
Heck also stressed education reforms and parental choice in where to send the children to school -- themes also pushed by Sandoval.
But he said he will advocate for programs that help people and he is not afraid to buck his party, like he did in voting to support certain housing projects that House conservatives opposed.
"I believe in cutting government waste and I have been a vocal advocate of eliminating programs that have outlived their purpose or have lost sight of their original mission," Heck said. "I also know that government does have a limited role in helping people help themselves."
A former state senator, Heck defeated Democrat Dina Titus in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District. His seat is being targeted by national Democrats who want to reclaim the seat in 2012.