Trump rebuke splits Sinema and McSally
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.
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