Fox News Talk's Guy Benson had the chance to speak with Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) this afternoon on a variety of topics including Border security, the 9/11 bill to help first responder's get healthcare & and what it's like working with Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Guy Benson: Earlier we spoke with Senator Martha McSally on the program she's a Republican from Arizona. Before joining the Senate she was a member of the House representing the 2nd District in that state and before her congressional career she served for 26 years in the U.S. Air Force retiring in 2010 as a full colonel. She is famously the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and the first to command a fighter squadron in combat in the history of our country. Senator McSally It is great to have you here. Thanks for joining THE GUY BENSON show.
Senator McSally: Hey Guy. Thanks so much for having me on.
Guy Benson: It's my pleasure. Let's talk policy right out of the gate. You represent a border state. There's another brewing battle over border security and homeland security funding. What is your approach here as we're looking at the House Democrats looking like they're going to give zero dollars for any additional border barriers. The president wants almost 9 billion dollars for that purpose. Then there is also 4.5 billion dollars that he's asking for for humanitarian aid when it comes to the current crisis on the border. How do you view these competing interests and what do you hope will happen.
Senator McSally: Well thanks Guy. Look this is so frustrating to see the Democrats playing politics with our border at the border. Senator I'll tell you our communities are being overwhelmed. I'm sure you've talked about the numbers on your show last month was one hundred and nine thousand. This month is one hundred and 44,000 apprehended. The vast majority of them are adults with a child. They've gotten the message down in Central America. And the cartels are profiting off of just bring a kid. They're trying to overwhelm our Border Patrol agents with I would would call it denial of service attack and they know they're going to be let go into communities. And so this supplemental appropriations bill 4.5 billion that they asked for for this border disaster that's happening. The Democrats wouldn't include it in the disaster bill that was being negotiated. This is our disaster here in Arizona. And they decided to play politics with it. Well we have again today asking land owners suffering is a humanitarian crisis as well.
Guy Benson: Yeah I'm trying to does it puzzle through this. Even the New York Times editorial board senator was saying give the president this money it is a crisis. This these funds are needed and the Democrats said no. What was their stated rationale?
Senator McSally: It's ridiculous. It is not rational and it's out of step with what we need at the border and it doesn't make any sense. So I think they're just playing politics because it's about the border. But when the New York Times agrees that the Democrats should fund the request from the president and then you know they are acting crazy. So we've got to keep putting the pressure on them. This is a security crisis and a humanitarian crisis. We've got in some sectors I hear from border patrol over 60 percent of our agents are focusing on transportation, babysitting, getting people to medical care. They're not actually patrolling the border. They're pulling agents from ports of entry they're pulling TSA agents to get the military down there. So the other thing we need to do by the way is close the loopholes that are drawing this activity. So Lindsey Graham and I introduced legislation he's going to be marking it up next week that closes the loophole that stops these pull factors that's incentivizing this activity and it's not going to stop until we close the loopholes.
Guy Benson: So that's on asylum and sort of the incentives right.
Senator McSally: Yes exactly It's on raising the standard for asylum more immigration judges having them apply in their home country or Mexico allowing us to return unaccompanied minors to Central America which we currently cannot do we can only do that to Mexico and allowing us to hold an adult with a child up to 100 days instead of the pay day limit we have with the florist settlement right now.
Guy Benson: Yes Senator these loopholes and we'll stop the poll. The thing is and I see this all the time time blue in the face on this program. I am not a hawk when it comes to immigration. I'm not hardcore on that issue. But what you just described seems so obviously necessary and sensible and reasonable and measured. Do you expect that that type of legislation will attract bipartisan support and actually pass.
Senator McSally: Well it should. And as Lindsey marks it up at a committee next week we'll see if they're able to garner one Democrat vote. How can they be against that. I mean there is a real problem. It's not manufactured. We're being overwhelmed and it's not going to change until these loopholes are closed and these are very reasonable approaches to address it. It's almost like you know the Cuba policy when they had wet foot dry foot and as soon as they changed that they saw the dynamic change. Well we've got our own incentives going on here and the cartels are profiting off them and all we're trying to do is stop that from happening. Secure the border. We've got to revamp and modernize our legal immigration system. But we're going to we're the to being over well we've got communities. Clearing states of emergency because people are basically being released into the streets in Arizona and non-governmental organizations are trying to pick up the slack. But this is not sustainable. This is insane.
Guy Benson: Senator yesterday on the House side comedian Jon Stewart was there he was talking about a 9/11 bill to help first responders get health care. I don't always agree with Jon Stewart politically but I think this has been a really righteous cause. You of course were serving the country after 9/11. What do you think of that bill what's your stance?
Senator McSally: This is where the those who are on scene on 9/11? I'm not familiar with the hearing yesterday but of course we need to support them. We vote to extend that support these are heroes who responded when we were under attack by terrorists who didn't have the courage to fight us in uniform. They were cowardice and attacked us here at home. And we have heroes who have been suffering because they were willing to run into that attack and not away from it and save lives. And so we've got to make sure we support them and we care for them for having made that sacrifice.
Guy Benson: Last question is sort of a bigger picture question you're adjusting to Senate life. You lost a very tight race and then were appointed to John McCain's seat that was vacant. You're gonna be up again for a special next year then if you win that you'll be up in 2022 for a six year term which is kind of like a house schedule when it comes to elections and reelections and fundraising. I'm wondering the person that you really went at it with one on one woman against woman Kyrsten Sinema. You guys are now serving together in the U.S. Senate which is an interesting kind of twist of fate. How has that been? Have you found an ability to maybe work with her in ways that might seem surprising to people who saw a bruising campaign.
Senator McSally: Oh absolutely. Look Guy we you know we fight tough campaigns and I was an athlete as well I look at it like you leave it all out on the field you have a tough fight you know you sweat. And in other times bleed and then at the end there's a high five and then you you know sometimes go out and get a beer afterwards. So she won fair and square. I was then appointed to the other seat. And this is now about Arizona. So we're working together on a lot of issues related to Arizona you know whether it's you know the drought contingency plan that I led related to the Colorado River. Other things related to our border communities. Some of the challenges we have with cross-border infrastructure veterans support you name it we are working as a team our teams are working on issues where we can find common ground and that's what I think Arizonans are looking for.
Guy Benson: And I'm not going to put words in your mouth but I'm going to say on my own behalf I was pretty tough on her on this show here. Based on some of the sort of wacky things that she said over the years including about the state of Arizona. But since she won that seat she's actually been relatively moderate in the way that she's governed which I think has allowed you in some ways from my perspective to pursue some of those goals that you just talked about. Has the Senae adjustment been strange for you. Does it kind of feel like you're almost still in the house because of this frenetic campaigns schedule that you have ahead of you?
Senator McSally: Yeah I'm in a very unique situation. Of course as a freshman in cycle and then I'll be in cycle again but I look at this Guy you know my dad passed away when I was twelve years old. He was 49 at the time and I always look at it like this could be the last year of my life what am I going to do with the time I've been given to make a difference and how can I do that now and not wait for the future. People just you know sometimes like to bloviate here I'm very action oriented I want to solve problems and make a difference with the time I've been given. And I've got that opportunity to do that now. We sure there's a campaign that's going to happen and we've virtually got Chuck Schumer plotting my demise. But I want to be a senator and you know show Arizonans the type of senator that I am as a continuation of my service like I had in uniform, making a difference for them, fighting for the things that matter to them. And there will be a choice coming up in 2020. It'll be the balance of the Senate majority and the direction of the country. Arizona will be ground zero and we've got to be ready for that fight. But the best way I can do is be a good senator and show my constituents how I'm serving them and making a difference for them and DC.
Guy Benson: Well Service is the word that has dominated your life. Our guest has been Senator Martha McSally from the great state of Arizona a Republican. We really appreciate your time. Thank you Senator.
Senator McSally: Thank you I appreciate it we'll talk to you soon.