South Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is singing the praises of a judicial decision made earlier this week that upholds a freeze on using Pentagon money to build a border wall on the Southern border.
A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled late Wednesday that it agreed with a lower court ruling that prevents the government from using Defense Department funds to help build sections of a border wall in Arizona, California and New Mexico.
A freeze on DOD funds was originally imposed by a federal judge in Northern California in May and stopped work on two Pentagon-funded wall contracts. The Trump administration then made an emergency request to the 9th Circuit, asking the judges to lift the lower court injunctions.
Trump declared a national emergency to redirect the military funds in February after Congress refused to acquiesce to his demands in January, which led to a 35-day partial government shutdown. The American Civil Liberties Union immediately filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition.
“This president wants to steal funds that Congress appropriated for the readiness of our military personnel to pay for a xenophobic border wall that Congress has repeatedly rejected on a bipartisan basis,” Wasserman Schultz said in a written statement. “This is reminiscent of what a king would try to do. Fortunately, President Trump is not a monarch. And we are still a democracy.”
Wasserman Schultz chairs the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. She says that their fiscal year 2020 budget now prohibits the transfer of funds in that committee “for anything other than the purpose for which Congress intended.”
House Democrats had filed their own legal challenge to Trump’s announcement that he would be using Department of Defense funds for construction of a border wall, but that case was thrown out of court by a judge last month.
Wasserman Schultz says she will do all she can to resists the president’s efforts to use DOD funds going forward.
“I will continue to fight his every attempt to steal resources from our military and their families to build this ineffective and narcissistic monument to nativism,” she added in her press release.