McSally explains why she voted against federal disaster aid bill
PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona said there’s one reason she voted against a federal disaster aid bill that President Donald Trump has said he will sign: immigration.
The $19 billion disaster aid bill to help to a number of states and Puerto Rico recover after a series of hurricanes, floods and wildfires passed the Senate last week by an 85-8 vote.
Republican leaders agreed to a demand by Democrats to toss out Trump’s $4.5 billion request to address a record influx of Central American migrants, but the president still said he would sign it.
“A lot of this had been lingering for long periods of time related to floods and hurricanes,” McSally told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.
“But our disaster here in Arizona is related to the border. … The numbers (of migrants) are going to keep growing. Local governments are overwhelmed.”
There is an ongoing disaster at our border — in the past 5 months over 32k migrants have been released into AZ. I support helping those who are impacted by disasters, but won’t ask Arizonans to pay for disasters in other states without funding the disaster in our backyard.
— Martha McSally (@SenMcSallyAZ) May 23, 2019
McSally said she advocated for Trump’s request to be included in the bill, but Democrats “played politics with it” and refused to include the border funds.
“That’s why I voted no. I mean I certainly care about those who are victims of these other disasters, but Arizonans shouldn’t be funding support to those while we’re not getting funding for our own disaster here,” she said.
Although McSally and U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona voted differently on the disaster aid bill, they have been working together on other issues.
“Just to be clear, (Sinema) is not my political foe. She is my colleague,” McSally said.
“The election’s over. This is what America’s all about, right? We gave it our all, she won, I’ve been honored to be appointed and now we are working together on behalf of Arizona.”
She said she and Sinema have been finding common ground on many issues, including veterans issues and supporting ports of entry.
“Maybe that can be an example to others in D.C.,” McSally said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.