House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are taking legal action against the Trump administration in an effort to stop the construction of a new border wall.
As the Washington Examiner reports, a legal suit names Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as the defendants. It does not name President Trump.
Pelosi is masking the lawsuit as a bipartisan stand against the president because the lawsuit comes from a special House committee with both Democrat and Republican members. The committee, however, has a majority of Democrat members.
“This case arises out of the unconstitutional actions taken by President Donald J. Trump’s Administration to construct a wall along the southern border of the United States,” the democratic-majority members said in the lawsuit.
“The Administration’s actions here demonstrate a shocking disregard for the Appropriations Clause, which protects Congress’s ‘exclusive power over the federal purse,’ and is both ‘a bulwark of the Constitution’s separation of powers among the three branches of the National Government,’ and ‘particularly important as a restraint on Executive Branch officers,’” the lawsuit continues.
From the Washington Examiner:
Pelosi had threatened court action to block Trump, who used a national emergency declaration to justify diverting $3.6 billion in unspent military construction funding to the wall project.
Congress passed a measure to revoke the national emergency with the help of a small group of Republicans, but Trump vetoed it.
Sixteen states have already sued Trump to block the wall funding grab.
In the lawsuit, Democrats accuse the president of breaking the law by spending money already designated by Congress.
As Fox News reports, the new wall is still being planned while the Trump administration has shelled out $1 billion to replace existing barriers.
“Contractors have been doing site and preparation work for 13 miles of barriers in the Rio Grande Valley that will be Trump’s first new fencing. The administration said construction could begin as early as this week. The administration is also in the process of replacing 14 miles of fencing around San Diego,” Fox News adds. The report continues:
Trump shut down the federal government for more than a month — the longest shutdown in U.S. history — and later declared a national emergency to free up billions of dollars to build his wall. Congress had voted to block the emergency declaration but Trump vetoed the measure.
Several organizations brought lawsuits over the declaration, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats also planned on suing to prevent Trump from “stealing” money from federal programs and diverting the money to build a wall.
But the national emergency money has not yet been spent in part because the government has to first spend existing border wall funding. A lawsuit could eventually derail the plan.
Still, various plans for more border barriers are moving along.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security requested that the defense department build 57 miles of 18-foot fencing near Yuma, Arizona and El Paso, Texas, which have seen enormous increases in the number of border crossers, especially families.