Following Senate Republicans’ vote to let military funds be raided from their own states, the DSCC launched a new digital ad campaign holding them accountable for putting their political self-interest ahead of what is right for their military communities back home. Senators Thom Tillis (NC), Martha McSally (AZ), Cory Gardner (CO), John Cornyn (TX), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Mitch McConnell (KY) voted to uphold the president’s sham emergency declaration even though they now know their states will lose funds for projects the Pentagon warned are necessary or “lives would be put at risk” and national security could be compromised.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is targeting Republican incumbents who voted against terminating the emergency declaration that diverts money from defense projects in their states.
At the time of the initial vote, Congress did not know which defense projects would be affected. Earlier this month, the Department of Defense released a list of projects potentially impacted and several of the projects are in states Democrats are targeting in their effort to flip the Senate.
Editorial boards in Texas and North Carolina have criticized the president’s decision to take funds for defense projects in their states to build a border wall.
DSCC Spokesperson Stewart Boss told CBS News in a statement, “Republican Senators paved the way for this harmful raid on critical military construction funding, and they just knowingly voted again to uphold this bogus emergency declaration and allow the Trump administration to keep diverting money away from their own states.”
The Senate voted for the second time Wednesday to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border, once again falling well short of a veto-proof majority needed to block the money.
When senators last voted on the issue, the Pentagon had not released a list of the $3.6 billion in military construction projects that were being canceled to pay for Trump’s border barrier.
But it was released earlier this month, and senators have a list of the specific projects in their states that are being scrapped to free up funding for Trump’s wall. That dynamic created new pressure for GOP senators, especially those up for reelection in 2020, to weigh their allegiance to Trump and his border wall against their support for much-needed projects at military bases and installations back home.
In a news release the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee attacked Republicans who voted with the president, accusing them of “dismissing dire warnings from the Pentagon . . . while doubling down on their craven support for this reckless cash grab.” The committee said it would be releasing digital ads in targeted states to highlight the votes.
Read more about vulnerable Republicans’ latest failure to protect their states from the Trump administration’s reckless cash grab:
TX – Houston Chronicle: “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Wednesday released new digital ads targeting Cornyn and several other Senate Republicans, accusing them of ‘raiding’ millions from ‘military communities.’ ‘Even as the White House threatens to claw away even more money from their states, these Senators are so craven that they voted to double down on enabling this reckless cash grab,’ DSCC spokesman Stewart Boss said in a statement.”
New York Times: “Senators Martha McSally of Arizona, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado were among the Republicans who voted in lock step with the president, though projects in their states are slated for funding delays.”
The Hill: “Trump’s decision to leapfrog Congress and declare a national emergency… has become a perennial headache for the GOP… Under a list circulated by the Pentagon, officials are shifting money away from military construction projects in 14 states that have Republican senators to go instead toward the border wall. Some of those states will be at the heart of the 2020 battle for control of the Senate, including Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina, where GOP Sens. Martha McSally (Ariz.), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) are on the ballot… When a reporter noted [Texas] was losing money according to the Pentagon list, [Sen. John Cornyn] added: ‘that’s way too parochial.’”
HuffPost: “the vote provides Democrats with potentially potent political messaging in their efforts to oust several vulnerable GOP senators in the 2020 elections. Republicans who again stood by Trump on the emergency declaration despite representing states that are losing money for military projects to wall construction included Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas.”
CNBC: “[The Trump administration] will still pull significant sums from states represented by GOP senators vulnerable in the 2020 elections. They include Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. All three opposed the resolution to end the emergency declaration during Wednesday’s vote and in March. The administration will pull $30 million from Fort Huachuca in Arizona. It will also draw $8 million from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado and $80 million from three sites in North Carolina”
Wall Street Journal: “Democrats see a potential political weapon in the national emergency funding vote, hoping to attack vulnerable Senate Republicans up for re-election who have had funding for military projects in their state diverted under the president’s initiative… Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) wrote an opinion article in the Washington Post announcing he would support the resolution, citing constitutional concerns about how spending decisions are made. But after criticism from conservatives in North Carolina, Mr. Tillis reversed his position and voted against the resolution. A self-funded primary challenger to Mr. Tillis has since run advertisements criticizing Mr. Tillis’s initial opposition to the national emergency.”
POLITICO: “Among the states hit by the diversion of military funds are Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina – all of which have Republican senators up for re-election in 2020… The actual raiding of military funds did not affect Republican votes.”
Vox: Senators in swing states like Colorado, Arizona, and North Carolina are the ones in the most precarious position with a vote like this. If they voted in favor of blocking the emergency, they risked Trump’s wrath and the threat of a potential primary challenger — something Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) already experienced when he initially opposed the president’s national emergency earlier this year. If they voted in favor of keeping the declaration, they’re condoning the use of state funds for the border wall.
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