NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Second District Congresswoman Elaine Luria is concerned about what President Trump's national emergency declaration over a US-Mexico border wall could cost Virginia.
According to the House Appropriations Committee, $131.7 million in Department of Defense military construction project funds, $57.7 million here in Hampton Roads for four projects, including the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, and Dam Neck Annex.
"So all of these impact our operational forces, our ability to maintain and send our forces, and our ships of on deployment properly trained," said Luria, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former Navy commander. "So it will be a huge impact that we're basically stealing from our national defense for something that is not an emergency."
The Democrat calls Trump's action "executive over-reach,' and she is co-sponsoring a joint resolution to terminate the emergency declaration. The House is expected to vote on it on Monday.
"Well it's very concerning," she said. "In my 20 years in the Navy, as well as in my current position in Congress, I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. I think that when actions are taken to circumvent the Constitution, which in this case I really believe it's an executive overreach."
Also of concern to Luria, the possible return of sequestration on October 1, and the automatic 10 percent budget cuts that would come with it.
She vows to work to repeal it and do away with the budgetary dysfunction that has gripped Washington for years.
"Sequestration, Continuing Resolutions, government shutdowns, those impact an area that has such a huge federal impact as Hampton Roads disproportionately to the rest of the country, so it's very much a top priority to make sure that doesn't happen," she said.
Luira sits on the House veterans affairs committee and has met with the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to discuss, among other things, the long-delayed southside veterans care clinic. When might we see it?
"The current plan, by 2023, but I think this has significant attention from the secretary of veterans affairs himself, so we'll do what we can to short-circuit that and open the doors more quickly for our veterans," she said.