Arizona leaders have mixed reactions to passing $400B budget deal

Feb 9, 2018, 7:36 AM | Updated: 10:29 am
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)
LISTEN: David Schweikert, Arizona Congressman

PHOENIX — Arizona’s political leaders in the nation’s capital were pleased in general to reach a budget deal Friday but a few details left some less than thrilled.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to reopen the federal government after a five-plus-hour shutdown. President Donald Trump quickly signed the $400 billion budget deal and tweeted out the news.

The House voted 240-186, while the Senate voted 71-28. The budget bill included huge spending increases sought by Republicans for the Pentagon along with a big boost demanded by Democrats for domestic agencies.

The price tag was what bothered Republicans Jeff Flake, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert.

“I love bipartisanship, as you know,” Sen. Flake said. “But the problem is the only time we discover bipartisanship is when we spend more money.”

Rep. Gosar, who voted no, called it “a sad day.”

“What we wanted to see was returning to good process, which builds good policy, which builds good politics,” Gosar told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“We lack leadership … and now going into $1.2 trillion in deficits this year? That’s a wrong answer. That’s not what people sent us back here for.

“There’s better ways to do this.”

Rep. Schweikert also voted no, he told KTAR.

“It’s just so frustrating,” he said. “… You get, ‘But you’re not supporting the military.’ Well, but, I’m hoping my child has an economic future.”

Republican Rep. Andy Biggs also voted no.

“This bad deal is an unconditional surrender on Republican principles and our platform. … I strongly oppose this deal,” Biggs said in a statement.

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva also voted no, but for a different reason.

In a statement, Grijalva said, “While I applaud the provisions of the bill that fund important health programs, disaster relief, and veterans infrastructure; I voted ‘no’ because it failed to protect Dreamers and provide true parity between domestic and defense spending.”

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema would have preferred less posturing during the process, but she voted yes.

“Washington politicians shouldn’t congratulate themselves for doing their jobs over four months late,” Sinema said in a statement.

“It is a good deal but much more work remains,” she said.

Republican Rep. Martha McSally voted in favor of the bill, which did not address border security or immigration.

She said in a partial statement:

“We cannot hold our military hostage while we tackle other long-term spending and move towards fiscal responsibility. This landmark increase in defense spending will finally start to give our troops what they need to keep us safe.”

Republican Sen. John McCain, who did not vote because he remains in Arizona undergoing treatment for brain cancer, released a statement.

“This budget deal finally makes good on our promise to provide for the men and women who so faithfully serve our nation in uniform,” he said.

The 81-year-old chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran was satisfied the package would help Arizona families and provide stability to the military and voted yes.

The final roll call vote showed Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego voted no.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona leaders have mixed reactions to passing $400B budget deal