Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Thursday that the House of Representatives intends to sue to stop President Trump from transferring already appropriated funds to build the border wall with Mexico.
The president declared a national emergency in February as part of an attempt to redirect as much as $6.6 billion toward border wall construction. Congress voted to block Trump’s emergency declaration, but Trump vetoed the resolution of disapproval.
Pelosi said that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a congressional committee that directs the House Office of General Counsel, has voted to authorize a lawsuit challenging Trump’s “decision to transfer funds from appropriated accounts for his border wall” on the grounds that the move violates the Constitution.
“The President’s action clearly violates the Appropriations Clause by stealing from appropriated funds, an action that was not authorized by constitutional or statutory authority. Congress, as Article I – the first branch, co-equal to the other branches – must reassert its exclusive responsibilities reserved by the text of the Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances,” Pelosi said in a statement.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also cited fundamental constitutional issues on the matter. “As a member of the House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Committee, I voted today to direct the House General Counsel to initiate a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for illegally moving appropriated funds from other priorities to pay for his border wall, which Congress has not authorized,” Hoyer said in a statement. “The House will take all actions necessary to uphold the rule of law and our Constitutional system of separation of powers."