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RALEIGH, NC – Senator Thom Tillis has broken another promise to North Carolina military families. After voting to allow $80 million in funding for North Carolina military installations to be diverted in order to fund a border wall, Tillis defended his careless vote by promising the funding would be “backfilled” or re-appropriated.
But reports on the spending bill that must pass by Friday note that “Congress also will not backfill $3.6 billion in military construction funds that the White House diverted earlier this year to the border wall.”
“When Thom Tillis voted three times to back the White House’s sham national emergency, including twice after he knew it would take $80 million from North Carolina military families, he sold off any ounce of independence he had left. Then, he promised those families the money would come, but we know now it won’t,” said Cal Cunningham, Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. “When I replace Thom Tillis in the Senate, military families will have a Senator who’ll actually put North Carolinians first, not someone who talks a good game in an election year, while abandoning those families when it matters most.”
Tillis wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post saying he would vote against Trump’s emergency declaration to fund the border wall calling it an executive overreach, only to turn around days later and vote in favor of it, performing what the Fayetteville Observer called an “Olympic Gold Flip-Flop.”
Even after Tillis learned that the declaration would divert $80 million from North Carolina military projects, he knowingly backed it two more times.
Tillis defended his vote by claiming he had “taken action” and that the money taken from North Carolina military installations would be backfilled, which the Fayetteville Observer editorial board said “does not explain his passivity on Trump’s money grab.”
Tillis to the Greensboro News & Record: “The liberal media also neglect to mention that none of the remaining projects are set to begin until 2020, which means Congress has plenty of time to re-allocate funding. I’ve taken action to do just that. The National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate in June with overwhelming bipartisan support, anticipated potential shifts in funding to build the wall and secure the border, so it backfills the money that is set to be spent in North Carolina.”
Tillis to the Huffington Post: “Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who initially opposed Trump’s emergency declaration but reversed himself just hours before the March vote, said he still stands with the president on the matter. But he expressed confidence that Democrats would agree to ‘backfill’ (that is, approve for a second time) the funding Trump has raided from his state for the wall construction, including money for projects at Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg. ‘It’s not like we’re talking about it still being at risk,’ Tillis argued to HuffPost, referring to the diverted money.”
The Fayetteville Observer Editorial Board: “Tillis’ staffer said the $3.6 billion taken from the military will be put back in the next National Defense Authorization Act in a process he called ‘backfill.’ The staffer also said Tillis has brought in more than $1 billion in defense projects to the state and $300 million for Fort Bragg. We guess we understand why Tillis’s team believes that is an adequate defense, but it does not explain his passivity on Trump’s money grab for the unpopular wall.
But the final spending bill does NOT include the backfill that Tillis promised.
Roll Call: “Republicans and Democrats reached agreement ‘in principle’ Thursday on $1.37 trillion in government funding, staving off the possibility of another shutdown just a week before spending is set to run out, according to Appropriations Committee leaders. […] Congress also will not backfill $3.6 billion in military construction funds that the White House diverted earlier this year to the border wall, despite the administration pushing for that funding, the source said. Trump will be able to retain his ability to transfer funding from Pentagon accounts to the border wall, the source added.”