GOP senator breaks vow to get back $30 million Trump took from military families


Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) broke her promise to restore $30 million in funding she helped Trump swipe from an Arizona Army base.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) failed to deliver on a key promise to restore $30 million in funding for an Arizona military base, after she helped Trump siphon those funds to build his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

McSally served on a joint House-Senate conference committee for the annual defense spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The final version of that bill, released on Monday, did not backfill the $3.6 billion Trump took from U.S. military families in order to build his border wall.

Some $30 million of that funding came from Fort Huachuca in Arizona.

McSally's likely Democratic opponent in the 2020 Senate race, former astronaut Mark Kelly, blasted McSally for her legislative failure.

"The fact that funding for this project at Fort Huachuca remains uncertain is on Senator McSally," Kelly said in an emailed statement.

Kelly blamed politics in Congress for pitting "border security against our national defense," adding that swiping $30 million from Fort Huachuca "was always a mistake and Senator McSally has supported it every step of the way."

Throughout 2019, McSally voted multiple times in support of Trump's effort to take money away from Arizona military families. In a September conference call with constituents, McSally vowed to restore the funding in the annual defense spending bill, saying, "As we work through our Senate and House differences, that funding will be seamlessly provided."

Yet the final NDAA bill did not fulfill that promise.

McSally's office did not respond to a request for comment.

The $30 million previously allocated for Fort Huachuca was slated for updates to "unsafe" facilities that currently "jeopardize personnel health, security and safety," according to a 2017 Army report. When the funds were initially appropriated by Congress, McSally praised the funding as "critical," adding that "Southern Arizona is home to defense assets that are vital to our national security."

Several recent polls show Arizona voters supporting Kelly over McSally, who lost her 2018 Senate race only to be appointed by the state's Republican governor to fill out the late Sen. John McCain's term.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised Mexico would pay for his promised border wall. In 2018, after Mexico refused, Trump asked Congress for billions of dollars to build the wall. Congress also refused.

In early 2019, Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border, and used that declaration to take $3.6 billion previously allocated for military families across the nation and stationed around the world, in order to use it to build his wall.

Congress had several opportunities to block Trump's effort to reallocate money. McSally and a majority of Republicans consistently demurred.

As of the end of September, the Trump administration has not built a single mile of new border wall along the border, but has replaced or repaired existing structures.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.