Arizona Congressional Delegation Reacts To Government Reopening

By Bret Jaspers
Published: Friday, January 25, 2019 - 5:14pm
Updated: Friday, January 25, 2019 - 10:09pm

Arizona’s Congressional delegation was largely in favor of reopening the federal government and continuing negotiations over building a wall on the U.S. Southern border.

The state has a mix of federal lawmakers in potentially influential blocks: four far-right House Republicans, five House Democrats in a new majority, and two Senators from opposite parties trying to strike more moderate tones.

Republican Sen. Martha McSally tweeted the change was “the right way forward.” She wrote the negotiations “must be in good faith and result in resources to secure our Southern border.”

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema called for a bipartisan solution to border security and immigration. “Shutdowns are irresponsible and hurtful; they should never happen,” she said in a statement.

Both senators voted with their respective parties on Thursday when two spending bills failed in the Senate — one with border wall money, one without. A bicameral conference committee will now get to work on a border security deal. Of the senators on the committee, none are from a Southern border state.

Arizona’s House Democrats were, unsurprisingly, in favor of reopening the government without President Trump’s border wall, albeit only for three weeks.

The strongest language came from Raúl Grijalva of Tucson, who wrote “using federal workers and their families to extort Congress into supporting a border wall is a gross abuse of power, and we must never reward a President for holding the government hostage.”

All of the state’s four Republican representatives in the House — Debbie Lesko of Peoria, David Schweikert of Fountain Hills, Andy Biggs of Gilbert and Paul Gosar of Prescott — are members of the far-right Freedom Caucus.

Lesko, while glad federal workers will get paid, blamed the shutdown on Democrats.

“Democrats have repeatedly said that they’ll negotiate on border security once the government reopens,” she said. “Now is their chance to come to the table and live up to their promise.”

Schweikert was also happy the money for federal workers was flowing again. “We hope the parties will now negotiate in good faith,” he said simply.

Biggs’ office did not return a request for comment on President Trump’s decision to reopen the government. In early January he wrote an op-Ed in conservative site The Daily Caller in which he wrote Trump should “strongly consider declaring a national emergency on the border.” That was a move other Freedom Caucus members resisted, according to Politico.

Gosar also did not return a request for comment and, like Biggs, was quiet on social media about the White House’s change in tactics.

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