Ohio’s Republican U.S. House delegation set aside any misgivings they may have had about President Donald Trump’s decision to use military dollars to pay for a wall on the U.S.–Mexico border Tuesday, voting against a resolution that would disapprove of Trump’s decision to do so.
Among those who voted against a Democratic proposal to oppose Trump’s declaration that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border was an emergency was Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who represents Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Turner has expressed concerns about Trump’s decision to use some $3.6 billion of unobligated military construction dollars to help pay for the border wall. Wright-Patterson stands to potentially lose $61 million that Congress approved last year to expand an intelligence center at the base.
Turner told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday night that he while he doesn’t want to see Trump “cannibalizing funds for our national security to address the issue on the border,” he said he believes the situation at the border is “one where we do need to take action.”
“I will not support an open border,” he said. Still, he said he’s concerned about Trump’s decision “as a precedent.”
His decision to oppose the resolution played a role in Rep. Troy Balderson’s decision to do so as well. Balderson, a Zanesville Republican elected in a special election last year, wrestled with whether to back the resolution, admitting he was worried that it would violate the separation of powers clause in the Constitution. Balderson said he had conversations with multiple Ohio Republican colleagues including Turner before deciding to oppose the resolution, and in a statement said that with Trump’s vow to veto the bill “this resolution is about political posturing, nothing more.
He said he took some time considering the bill. “I just wanted to make sure I vote on something and understand what I was doing,” he said.
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, also voted against the resolution, but said he also made the vote after some deliberation. “I think almost all of us wrestled with it at some point,” he said, but said Trump’s emergency declaration is within the scope of the National Emergencies Act.
He said he is not worried about Wright-Patterson being impacted by the emergency. “We have high priority projects,” he said, saying the intelligence center is “a vital mission” to national security.
All four Ohio Democrats backed the proposal, which passed 245–182.
Meanwhile, in a conference call with Ohio reporters, Sen. Rob Portman said he was “uncomfortable at this point” in saying whether he would support the declaration of emergency.
Portman said Vice President Mike Pence met privately Tuesday with Senate Republicans on the resolution.
Trump’s emergency declaration allows him to dip into military construction and other accounts to pay for the wall.
(Jack Torry contributed to this story.)