Trump re­buke splits Sinema and McSally

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally split along par­ti­san lines Thurs­day on a res­o­lu­tion re­buk­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s use of his pow­ers to de­clare a na­tional emer­gency on the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

Sinema, D-Ariz., sup­ported the House-passed res­o­lu­tion to block Trump’s emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion while McSally, R-Ariz., voted against it.

The Repub­li­can-con­trolled Se­nate passed the bill 59-41 in fa­vor of the

House-passed res­o­lu­tion with the help of 12 GOP law­mak­ers, some of whom are up for re-elec­tion in 2020 and will have to rec­on­cile to vot­ers their de­ci­sion to cross the pres­i­dent on his sig­na­ture bor­der is­sue. Some of those sen­a­tors sup­port bol­stered bor­der se­cu­rity but did not want to set a prece­dent of the pres­i­dent work­ing around Congress for fund­ing au­tho­riza­tion.

After the vote, Trump tweeted a oneword re­sponse: “VETO!”

If Trump fol­lows through, it would be the first veto of his pres­i­dency.

Sinema for weeks had hinted at her po­si­tion on the House-passed res­o­lu­tion but waited un­til her vote to fully ex­plain her vote. Her vote in sup­port was mo­ti­vated by her con­cerns over the po­ten­tial im­pact of mil­i­tary readi­ness as well as an over­reach of power by the ex­ec­u­tive branch, Sinema said in a writ­ten state­ment.

“It is Congress’s con­sti­tu­tional duty to ap­pro­pri­ate funds for bor­der se­cu­rity,” Sinema said. “Sev­eral weeks ago, Congress in­creased Home­land Se­cu­rity fund­ing by $1.7 bil­lion for this year. While there is more work for Congress to do, the emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion un­der­mines crit­i­cal mil­i­tary as­sets across our coun­try and un­nec­es­sar­ily puts at risk re­sources for Ari­zona ser­vice­mem­bers and na­tional se­cu­rity.

“I will con­tinue work­ing to find bi­par­ti­san so­lu­tions in the U.S. Se­nate to se­cure our bor­der and strengthen our mil­i­tary.”

McSally said she de­cided to vote against the res­o­lu­tion after get­ting as­sur­ances from the Depart­ment of De­fense that any funds used for con­struc­tion of Trump’s bor­der wall will not af­fect four key Ari­zona de­fense projects and any other con­tracts that are im­pacted na­tion­ally will get all their fund­ing in the next bud­get that be­gins Oct. 1.

McSally said she was told the fund­ing shifts also would not af­fect mil­i­tary fam­ily hous­ing, an is­sue she has taken on amid re­ports of poor con­di­tions for some, she said dur­ing an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day with The Ari­zona Repub­lic.

“Given the cir­cum­stances and the hu­man­i­tar­ian and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion at the bor­der, which puts many at risk, I am go­ing to be vot­ing against the dis­ap­proval res­o­lu­tion, while I con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for ad­di­tional fund­ing and re­sources,” McSally said.

McSally pub­licly con­firmed the na­ture of her con­ver­sa­tions with act­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Pa­trick Shana­han Thurs­day dur­ing a Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee hear­ing. Shana­han faced com­plaints from sen­a­tors who for a month have asked which mil­i­tary projects could be af­fected in or­der to pay for the bor­der wall.

McSally said to Shana­han about projects ap­pro­pri­ated in fis­cal 2019: “We did have a con­ver­sa­tion, and there are four projects in Ari­zona that are ap­pro­pri­ated in FY 19, and you broadly said those FY ‘19 projects across all the coun­try will not be im­pacted by this, just to be clear, cor­rect, Mr. Sec­re­tary,” McSally asked.

Shana­han re­sponded: “That is cor­rect.”

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Depart­ment of De­fense could not speak to McSally’s con­ver­sa­tions with Pentagon of­fi­cials. The rep­re­sen­ta­tive noted that Shana­han said he would pro­vide a list of mil­i­tary projects that could be af­fected by Trump’s dec­la­ra­tion.

The White House views the emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion as a valid way to move ex­ist­ing bud­get money to­ward a bor­der wall. That is a view McSally shares.

Trump turned to the emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion after Democrats in the House and Se­nate would not pro­vide the $5.7 bil­lion he sought dur­ing the par­tial govern­ment shut­down that ended in Jan­uary after the long­est halt in his­tory.

Have news about Ari­zona’s U.S. sen­a­tors or na­tional pol­i­tics to share? Reach the re­porter on Twit­ter and Face­book. Con­tact her at 602-444-4712 or [email protected]­zonare­pub­lic.com.

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