Judiciary chair demands Hope Hicks clarify closed-door testimony
House asks judge to block Trump plan for border wall funds
The House on Tuesday evening asked a federal judge to block President Trump's plan to use Defense Department funds to build his long-promised wall along the southern border.
House lawyers filed a motion to U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden asking him to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the administration's plan to use about $6 billion initially intended for military construction and counter-drug accounts to build miles of additional barriers on the southern border.
"Defendants are moving quickly to construct the border wall, and they have awarded contracts against funds that Congress did not appropriate for that purpose. And more contracts are coming soon," House General Counsel Doug Letter and other lawyers wrote. "Once made, these unconstitutional expenditures cannot be undone, and the grave institutional injury inflicted on the House cannot be remedied."
Neither the Justice Department nor the White House immediately responded to requests for comment from The Hill.
The motion accuses Trump of violating the Constitution's separation of powers by violating Congress's power to appropriate federal funds. More than half the money the House is trying to block is linked to the president's February emergency declaration in which he first announced he would reallocate Pentagon funds following a 35-day partial government shutdown that began over disagreements over border wall funding.
The House lawyers mention Trump's campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the wall and cite six times that Trump declared on the day he announced the national emergency that he "didn't need to do this."
However, the motion does not dispute the emergency declaration, instead arguing that while the White House says the funds are needed for military construction, they are also drawing on other funds that cannot be used for that purpose.
McFadden, a Trump-appointee, has not yet set a hearing on the preliminary injunction motion.
Tuesday's motion stems from a lawsuit House Democrats filed earlier this month that claims Trump lacks the authority under the National Emergencies Act to divert military funds for the wall's construction.