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In case you missed it, Sen. Thom Tillis once again failed North Carolina military families. After allowing $80 million to be taken from North Carolina military bases, he failed to backfill the money in the year-end spending deal.
While Tillis and his team spin themselves into a knot trying to blame others for the fact that the money hasn’t been backfilled as Tillis promised, here is the bottomline they are trying to distract from: if it weren’t for the fact that Thom Tillis voted three times to back the emergency declaration, TWICE after finding out it would redirect $80 million from North Carolina military installations, the funding wouldn’t have been on the table in the first place.
The Fayetteville Observer, which has criticized Tillis’ failure on behalf of military families said of Tillis’ lousy defense of his vote that it “does not explain his passivity on Trump’s money grab.”
Cal Cunningham, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, told the News & Observer: “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.”
Read more from the News & Observer below, and click here for more background on the timeline of Tillis’ votes.
By Brian Murphy – December 21, 2019
The bipartisan spending deal, however, does not include money for projects that had their funding redirected to the border wall by Trump under his national emergency declaration.
Of the more than $3.6 billion that was redirected to the wall, $80 million came from projects in North Carolina, including $40 million for a new battalion complex and ambulatory care center at Camp Lejeune, $6.4 million for a storage facility for the new KC-46 tanker at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and $32.9 million for a previously canceled elementary school at Fort Bragg. The ambulatory care center was to replace current facilities that are “substandard, inefficient, decentralized and uncontrolled,” according to the military.
North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who flipped his position to support Trump’s emergency declaration, is facing criticism over the unfunded projects from one Democratic challenger in his 2020 re-election bid.
Tillis and fellow North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr were among the 81 senators to vote for the spending package this week even without the funding.
“This legislation is a major win for North Carolinians, especially our service members, military families, and veterans. I’m proud of the billions of dollars we secured to upgrade North Carolina’s military installations and provide desperately-needed funding for Camp Lejeune to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Florence,” Tillis said in a news release touting the funds for North Carolina.
Democrat Cal Cunningham, among the front-runners for the nomination to oppose Tillis and backed by national Democrats, said Tillis’ vote is a broken promise. Cunningham served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“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,” Cunningham said in a statement.
In a Washington Post editorial, published in February, Tillis explained why he would not support Trump’s emergency declaration even though he backed Trump’s vision on border security. He wrote he was defending the legislative branch’s powers and called out his party colleagues for hypocrisy on the issue of executive power.
But weeks later, after criticism from conservatives, Tillis voted with Trump on the national emergency declaration. Trump endorsed Tillis’ re-election bid in June, saying in a tweet that Tillis “fights hard against Illegal Immigration.”
The measure has come up for two other votes, including a veto override in October, and Tillis has voted with Trump on both occasions. Tillis defended his position, said there was time to “re-allocate funding” and called out the news media and liberals for distorting the debate.