Murkowski returns to Juneau for 16th legislative address
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Monday made her annual visit to the place where her political career began — the state capital in Juneau — and didn’t mince words: she’s no fan of government shutdowns and she is not happy about President Trump’s recent emergency declaration for the border wall funding Congress would not approve.
Murkowski delivered her 16th speech to state lawmakers, most of whom were not in office when she served in Juneau.
She touched on topics like advancements with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, renewable energy projects in rural communities and funding for the Nenana-Totchaket Bridge, which she says will create access to 900,000 acres of agricultural, university and state forest land.
But she also addressed the recent partial federal government shutdown and Trump’s bypassing Congress to build a border wall.
She reminded lawmakers of sacrifices made by the United States Coast Guard, who worked two weeks without pay, then noted just how far into the state the shutdown reached with additional examples.
She cited efforts in Gustavus to make sure the National Park Service could continue the Southeast community’s school water trucks with fresh water.
Murkowski also noted the state’s Congressional delegation ensured federal vessel inspections took place in time for ground fish and crab seasons. The Yukon Quest, she says, was in jeopardy of shutting down if it could not obtain a federal permit to transport frozen dog food across the Canadian border into Alaska.
“I am in the camp that says no shutdown is good and I'm working with my colleagues to prevent this from ever happening again,” she told lawmakers before pausing to a prolonged applause. “Shutdowns are just not a good way to go, just a not a good way to govern.”
In a briefing with the media, Murkowski fielded questions on Trump’s recent national emergency declaration so he could receive funding for his border wall.
“I’ll be very direct — I don’t like this. I don’t like this,” she said. “It takes us down a road and with a precedent, that if it’s allowed, that we may come to regret. The president has got certainly as much as this administration can spend in this fiscal to move out on his priorities.”
Murkowski, who serves on the defense appropriations subcommittee, continued saying she worries about the expansion of authority by any president on any issue, even it's one that she supports.
Because some wall money could come from funds for certain military construction projects, Murkowski said her staff is researching whether any of the recent Alaska appropriations could be affected.
Projects announced last summer by Murkowski’s office include: $63.8 million for four projects at Eielson Air Force Base; $174 million for Long Range Discrimination Radar Phase II at Clear Air Force Station; $8 million for the improvement of the existing missile field at Fort Greely and $41 million for two projects at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Murkowski said that funding has already gone through the legislative process and been signed into law by President Trump. She that the idea of money for the wall now coming from those funds could point to the executive branch's preferred purpose, which some would argue goes against what Congress has supported.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.