Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., defended her vote against blocking President Donald Trump from diverting billions of dollars toward a wall on the southern border, saying the Pentagon assured her it wouldn’t impact military projects in her home state.
But by Monday the Pentagon and the White House had not said which projects would be bumped in order to build the wall, raising the political stakes for McSally and other Republicans who will run for re-election next year after voting to take money from military projects.
A bipartisan group of senators — 47 Democrats and 12 Republicans — voted Thursday to overturn Trump’s national-emergency declaration at the southern border, prompting a veto from Trump.
McSally told The Arizona Republic she was comfortable voting against the resolution after the administration told her the funding shifts would not impact projects, including military housing, in her state.
“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,” she said.
On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the list didn’t even exist.
“I know of no list, and if anybody should know it should be me,” Mulvaney said in an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “There’s no list of projects that are absolutely not going to be funded so that the wall can be.”
At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he had not told any senator the move wouldn’t impact projects in their state, only that projects that had been appropriated for the current fiscal year wouldn’t be impacted.
“I have told members there are projects — and this is writ large — there are no projects to be obligated in FY19, this fiscal year, that will be canceled,” Shanahan said.
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked him, “Have you assured members of the Senate, individual members, that there are not projects in their states that are under consideration?”
Shanahan replied, “No, I have not.”
Shanahan told the committee he would send it a list of the projects that would lose funding but hadn’t by Friday afternoon, The Wall Street Journal reported, prompting criticism from the ranking member, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
“Tonight, the Acting Secretary of Defense informed me he is unable to keep his commitment to share the list of what will be cut to pay for the vanity wall,” Reed said in a statement. “This unacceptable series of evasions should trouble members of Congress, regardless of political party.”