GOP Senators Who Backed Trump’s Sham Emergency Declaration See Funds Raided from Military Construction Projects in Their Own States
Senators Tillis, McSally, Gardner, Cornyn, Graham, McConnell among the vulnerable Republican incumbents whose votes to uphold Trump’s irresponsible emergency declaration earlier this year are costing their own states
Vulnerable Republican Senators are struggling to defend their votes earlier this year to uphold President Trump’s sham emergency declaration that paved the way for the administration’s diversion of $3.6 billion away from military construction projects. Those votes are now costing their own states tens of millions of dollars in military construction project funding. A new report from the Pentagon shows that the Trump Administration is raiding military projects in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas to the tune of nearly $230 million – including millions in funds that GOP incumbents once bragged about helping secure.
“These Republicans Senators are directly responsible for their own states losing millions of dollars in funding for critical military construction projects,” said DSCC spokesman Stewart Boss. “Because of their self-serving politics and their spineless inability to stand up to the White House, Senators like Thom Tillis, Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed a basic test of leadership and now military installations in their states are paying the price.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Wall Street Journal: Republicans Feel the Heat of Trump’s Military Fund Shifts
- President Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is once again creating political problems for vulnerable Senate Republicans.
- Several of the projects are in states with Republican senators facing competitive re-election races in 2020—opening up a fresh line of attack for Democrats.
- Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina are among the 23 states that will see military projects defunded under the move. Sens. Martha McSally (R., Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), and Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) each supported Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration, and they are each up for re-election this year in the closely contested swing states.
- Democrats in those states are quickly using the funding shift to attack Republicans. Morgan Carroll, the chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, called Mr. Gardner a “spineless yes-man for Trump” in a statement about the military construction funding. Mr. Trump lost Colorado to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
- The development underscores the political difficulty Mr. Trump’s border wall—and his quest to build it—poses for vulnerable Republicans. Breaking from the president on his signature policy proposal is tantamount to treason for the Republican base, while supporting it only bolsters Democratic efforts to paint the Republicans as feckless sycophants.
- Mr. Tillis’s initial effort to buck the president on the emergency declaration for the wall quickly collapsed after broad opposition from Republicans in his state. While he reversed himself and ultimately came out in support of the emergency declaration, the skepticism was costly, spurring primary challengers to enter the race.
- Continued drama over the border—which is inevitable because of the looming spending fights this fall—will only compound the political challenges for Senate Republicans.
HuffPost: GOP Senators Who Backed Trump’s Emergency Declaration Lose Military Funding
- Who could have seen this coming when the president chose to divert defense money to build his border wall?
- Republicans who supported an emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border are discovering the cost of standing with President Donald Trump: millions of dollars in federal funds diverted away from planned military construction projects in their states.
- Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), one of those who voted in support of the declaration, announced early Wednesday that the Trump administration was diverting $30 million in funds from an Army base in her state to construction of the wall ― even though she previously received assurances from an acting secretary of defense that her state would be spared.
- Other Republican senators whose states are impacted by Trump’s diversion of military construction funds to build the wall include Thom Tillis of North Carolina ($80 million), Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ($62 million), John Cornyn of Texas ($48 million), Lindsey Graham of South Carolina ($11 million) and Cory Gardner of Colorado ($8 million).
Daily Beast: Trump Raids Elementary Schools to Pay for Wall; Mexico Off Hook
- Among the notable items now on the backburner include $62 million for a middle school at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky…
- But the administration will also divert plenty of dollars from projects in states with Republican representation, complicating politics for a handful of GOP senators with the most difficult re-election fights in 2020, including Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).
- Tillis’ home state of North Carolina will see roughly $80 million in projects put on hold. McSally, who was appointed to her seat, will have to deal with the loss of $30 million for an Army facility in southern Arizona to her constituents.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is up for re-election too, will see roughly $60 million in projects for his state put on pause.
Bloomberg News: Shift of Military Funds to Border Wall Hits States Across U.S.
- A handful of Republican senators seeking re-election next year are facing cuts in their states, including Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who penned a Washington Post op-ed to oppose Trump’s emergency declaration, only to later flip and vote with Trump in March. Among the deferrals in his state are projects at Camp Lejeune, one of the state’s major employers. Projects in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and South Carolina are also on the list.”
The Hill: Hurricane-hit bases among those losing funds to Trump wall
- The list includes projects in states represented by Republican senators who voted in support of Trump’s emergency declaration.
- Those include Thom Tillis (N.C.), whose state has three projects on the list worth a combined $80 million; Sen. Martha McSally (Ariz.), with one $30 million project at Fort Huachuca; Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), whose state had a planned nearly $63 million middle school at Fort Campbell; Cory Gardner (Co.), with an $8 million project at Peterson Air Force Base; Lindsey Graham (S.C.), whose state had a planned fire station replacement for $11 million; and John Cornyn (Texas), whose state had two projects worth $48 million that will now be deferred.
- All six lawmakers are up for reelection in 2020.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: McSally “off by a factor of 1,000” on military project cuts
Colorado Sun: $8 million military construction project at Colorado Springs base shifted to pay for border wall
- Construction at a military base in Colorado Springs is being deferred as part of budget shifts to pay for President Donald Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
- That comes after assurances from the White House to Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner that no Colorado bases would be affected for the 2019 fiscal year.
- Gardner did not support a Democratic push to block Trump’s emergency declaration, saying it was the president’s legal right to issue the order.
- Gardner’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Gardner is facing a tough reelection battle in 2020.
Denver Post: Colorado space control project money going to Trump’s border wall instead, senator says
$8 million for Peterson Air Force Base is delayed, according to Bennet
- The Department of Defense has delayed work on an $8 million construction project at Peterson Air Force Base as part of President Donald Trump’s plan to use military money to pay for a border wall, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s office said Wednesday.
- If the space control facility is not built, the military wrote in its May 2017 proposal, there could be “operational and strategic mission impacts due to inadequate facilities.” Peterson AFB did not answer questions about the project Wednesday.
Arizona Republic: Fort Huachuca project delayed for Trump’s border efforts
- An Army construction project at Arizona’s Fort Huachuca will be delayed so President Donald Trump can redirect the money to his efforts to install new barriers along the border with Mexico.
- The $30 million project near Sierra Vista is among dozens formally scratched by the Pentagon on Wednesday to free about $3.6 billion in funds to help make good on Trump’s signature campaign promise to build a wall. The Fort Huachuca Ground Transport Equipment Building is intended to help store equipment.
- The move is at least the second blow to Arizona’s military operations in recent months.
- In March, the Democratically-controlled House moved to terminate the funding maneuvers, arguing the president was usurping congressional oversight of spending. Their effort died in the Republican-controlled Senate, which effectively sided with Trump.
Tucson Sentinel: Pentagon shifts $3.6B to border barriers, delaying $30M Ft. Huachuca project
McSally blasted by Kelly over ‘assurances’ by Trump administration
- Among the military projects being put off is a $30 million project at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona… McSally’s office originally wrote that the project was expected to cost just $30,000, but later sent out a correction.
- The U.S. Army base in Sierra Vista is a major intelligence and military communications center. U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, whose district includes the fort, said that the funding for the project is “long overdue.”
- The equipment building “desperately needed this funding for restoration and repairs,” [Kirkpatrick] said in a news release. The structure “is designed to house military trucks, vans, trailers and vital electronic equipment; much of that equipment is currently stored outside,” her office said.
- McSally also voted against a resolution to block Trump’s declaration. U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, voted in favor of it and was joined by a dozen GOP senators in the attempt to halt Trump’s assumption of emergency powers to redirect military spending.
- Mark Kelly, a Democrat running against McSally in 2020, blasted the appointed Republican senator over the shifting of funds.
- “Ft. Huachuca and our national security are suffering the consequences of her political maneuvering,” Kelly said in a campaign news release. “Sen. McSally told Arizonans she had protected funding for Arizona military bases, and the fact is that she didn’t keep her word.”
@brahmresnik: FLASHBACK Congresswoman Martha McSally news release June 2017: “McSally Secures Victories for Southern Arizona in Defense Authorization Bill.” One of those victories: $30 million for Fort Huachuca.
Charlotte Observer Editorial: Thom Tillis’ terrible, no good and totally predictable bad day
- Then his day got worse. Late in the afternoon, news broke that $80 million worth of construction projects at North Carolina military bases were being cut to shift funds to building the president’s wall on the Mexican border. The total includes $40 million for a new battalion complex and ambulatory care center at Camp Lejeune, as well as a planned elementary school to serve families at Fort Bragg. The $80 million in N.C. cuts were more than in any other state with a GOP senator facing reelection in 2020.
- Trump’s wall already was the source of one of the senator’s weakest moments. As N.C. voters surely remember, Tillis announced in February that he would vote against the president’s effort to circumvent Congress and pay for the wall by declaring a national emergency at the southern border. Three weeks later, he backed down and gave his blessing and vote to the president’s overreach.
- Now that decision will doubly haunt him.
- The lessons here? There are at least a couple. First, don’t trust this president. Donald Trump will not hesitate to burn anyone — including people who’ve previously helped him — to get a political victory. And also — when you buy political favor in exchange for your principles, the bill is always more than you thought it would be.
The State: Trump taking $11 million from SC military project to fund border wall
- South Carolina will lose nearly $11 million that had been designated for building a new fire station at a local military installation in order to help fund President Donald Trump’s border wall.
- The decision to target Laurel Bay at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, announced by the Pentagon on Wednesday, contradicts the assurances from South Carolina Republican elected officials earlier this year that federal funding for military construction projects in the state were not likely to get touched.
- It puts Trump’s staunchest South Carolina allies in a difficult spot as they are busy preparing for Hurricane Dorian to wreak havoc along the state’s coast.
- In February, Graham said he was prepared to tell South Carolina military bases to make a sacrifice to build the wall, insisting it would just be a temporary setback in the cause of a greater good.
- “I would tell them this: If we need to take money from the military construction account to get a wall up and going, I’m willing to do it, and then on Oct. 1, whatever money you had to forfeit, we’ll replenish it,” Graham promised.
- Graham and McMaster did not immediately release statements on the news that Beaufort would in fact get tapped for funding.