WASHINGTON (CN) – A House panel has authorized a lawsuit over President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.
Members of House leadership comprised the panel that voted on the measure this afternoon, authorizing the House’s general counsel to challenge the decision that will move money from various government accounts to fund Trump’s long-promised wall along the southern border. In the two months since Trump’s declaration, lawmakers have repeatedly said that a lawsuit from the House was likely.
Pelosi said the lawsuit will allege that Trump’s use of money from other areas of government to build the wall violates the Constitution’s appropriations clause, which states, in part, “no money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”
“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 systems of checks and balances,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The House will once again defend our democracy and our Constitution, this time in the courts. No one is above the law or the Constitution, not even the president.”
The House passed a resolution in February aimed at ending Trump’s declaration. While the Senate did the same in March, Trump vetoed the resolution as expected. The House could not override Trump’s veto in a vote last week.
Trump announced he was declaring the emergency in February as part of a deal to end the month-long government shutdown, which began when Congress refused to meet the president’s demands for money for a border wall.
That move allowed Trump to move money from military construction accounts to build the wall, but nearly immediately drew multiple legal challenges across the nation.
Thursday’s panel, called the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, was made up of the speaker of the House, the House majority, and minority leaders and majority and minority whips.