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RALEIGH, NC – Following news that the White House will divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for border wall construction, all eyes are on Senator Thom Tillis, who previously allowed $80 million to be diverted from North Carolina military bases in order to pay for the wall.
Here are key questions for Senator Tillis following this news:
Will Thom Tillis demand answers about where the additional funding will come from, and whether any additional funds will be diverted from North Carolina before he supports raiding these funds?
Will Thom Tillis demand answers about how raiding additional funds and preventing key military projects from moving forward puts our national security at risk?
Tillis failed to protect North Carolina military project funds and caved to the president, losing $80 million for bases across the state. Why should North Carolinians trust him to protect other projects from losing critical funding?
Cal Cunningham, an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, has repeatedly called out Tillis’ failure on behalf of North Carolina military families, especially for Tillis’ support for the President’s national emergency and his votes to knowingly take $80 million from the state’s military installations.
ICYMI — Here is background on the evolution of Tillis’ position on the emergency declaration, that resulted in $80 million being diverted from North Carolina military installations.
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 did 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.”