GOP Sen. Says Trump Admin Threatened Alaska Lawmakers Over Repeal Vote

Bill Clark/CQPHO

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has issued a threat to both of Alaska’s senators, warning them that opposing efforts to repeal Obamacare could prompt the Trump administration to retaliate against their state in some way, according to Alaska’s junior senator.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) told the Alaska Dispatch News that Zinke had called him with a “troubling message.”

“I’m not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop,” Sullivan said.

“I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans,” he added. “We’re facing some difficult times and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the policies that Secretary Zinke and the President have been talking about with regard to our economy. But the message was pretty clear.”

Sullivan told the Dispatch News that Zinke also called Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who has opposed the Senate’s replacement plan and who voted against proceeding to debate on Obamacare repeal. Murkowski also chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior and Environment, which plays a large role in determining funding levels for the Interior Department. Sullivan told the newspaper that he believes Zinke’s threat was in response to Murkowski’s vote against the motion to proceed.

President Donald Trump himself on Tuesday singled out Murkowski for her “no” vote, one of two out of the Senate Republican caucus.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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