Rep. Martha McSally: "While far from perfect, today’s bipartisan legislation benefits Southern Arizona in many ways."
House Speaker Paul Ryan managed to avoid a government shutdown and a rebellion in his own ranks with a $1.1 trillion spending plan and $662 billion tax-cut package that passed Congress today on a 316-113 vote.
For details of what's in the plan, you can check out this New York Times report.
The Arizona congressional delegation split on their votes. Voting in favor were Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1), Martha McSally (R-CD2) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9). Voting against were Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-CD1), David Schweikert (R- CD6), Matt Salmon (R-CD5), Paul Gosar (R-CD4), Trent Franks (R-CD8), and Ruben Gallego (D-CD7).
In the Senate, the legislation passed on a 65-33 vote. Both of Arizona's Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, voted against the package.
McSally said the legislation was "far from perfect" but she supported it nonetheless, citing funding for the A-10 Warthog and EC0130H, among other benefits. Her statement:
While far from perfect, today’s bipartisan legislation benefits Southern Arizona in many ways. I’ve been a leading voice to stop the dangerous cuts to our depleted military. This agreement does just that. After I fought hard to protect the A-10 and EC-130H, this bill provides full funding for both aircraft as well as my amendment to prevent the retirement of any EC-130H next year. It includes an additional $241 million for three critical missiles produced at Raytheon in Tucson, keeping their lines running and protecting good-paying Southern Arizona jobs. The bill also contains funding for construction at DM and Fort Huachuca, including $18.2 million for personnel recovery training missions conducted in Southern Arizona and $3.9 million to renovate the Joint Interoperability Test Command buildings.”
In addition, today’s legislation prioritizes protecting our homeland. The bill contains provisions to strengthen the Visa Waiver Program, a recommendation made by my colleagues and me on the bipartisan foreign fighter task force. It increases funding for Customs and Border Protection operations and focuses funds for the FBI to conduct counterterrorism and counterintelligence activities. While these are important steps, we still have work to do to address all our security vulnerabilities, and I’ll continue to work to pass more solutions to make Americans safer.
It was refreshing to vote for an omnibus bill that includes smart investments in jobs, education, transportation and infrastructure. And this bill is especially good for Arizona, with increases for wildfire grants programs, national parks, Pell Grants, Head Start, Impact Aid and much more. Instead of the usual shutdown threats and brinksmanship, Congress worked together on this compromise bill, and while it isn’t perfect, it deserved to pass with overwhelming support. As I’ve often said, bipartisanship is the way to get things done. In 2016, I hope Congress will chart a similar path — one that is paved with more results than rancor.
Flake was succinct in explaining his vote against the spending package:
I voted against the omnibus because it adds to our growing debt, fails to address wasteful spending, and is full of the same tired giveaways we’ve seen over the years,
McCain explained his vote against the legislation:
In the aftermath of the attack on San Bernardino, and with threats to our national security growing around the world, Congress shamefully took billions of taxpayer dollars that should have been focused on our warfighters and loaded up the omnibus spending bill with wasteful, unnecessary, and inappropriate pork-barrel projects. At a time of war and cuts to our national defense, this 2000-page bill negotiated in secret includes over $2 billion in defense funding for duplicative medical research, the vast majority of which has nothing to do with the mission of the U.S. military or Department of Defense. With our Navy working hard to use limited resources to build the fleet we need for the future, the omnibus includes $225 million for a ship that the Navy does not want and does not need. And as Russia occupies Crimea, destabilizes Ukraine, menaces our NATO allies, and bombs U.S.-backed forces in Syria, the omnibus includes a provision allowing a single U.S. company to spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying Russian-made rocket engines from Vladimir Putin and his cronies. This omnibus bill, and the broken process that produced it, represents everything that the American people hate about Washington. The American people deserve better.
Kirkpatrick, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by McCain, hammered him for his vote against the budget:
It’s appalling that John McCain would put his own agenda ahead of our national security and Arizona families. Without this bill, our military would not have the resources it needs to destroy ISIS. Our veterans would lose access to their care and benefits. Our 9/11 first responders would no longer receive the treatment they badly need. This is a breathtakingly misguided vote by McCain that endangers Americans and represents the worst of Washington politics.