House Takes Fight Over Border Wall Funding to DC Circuit

A border wall is topped with razor wire between Tijuana and San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives filed an appeal Monday night to the D.C. Circuit challenging a federal judge’s denial of its request to freeze funds tapped for the construction of a wall at the southern border.

The House called on the federal appeals court to review a ruling issued a week ago by U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden.

Claiming no jurisdiction to act in the matter, McFadden said the House had not exhausted all institutional remedies to counter President Donald Trump’s efforts to redirect military construction funds to fulfill his most talked about campaign promise – a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

One example of such a remedy would be a two-thirds majority vote to override Trump’s emergency declaration, which is unlikely given the Senate is under Republican control. GOP leaders have fully backed the strategy to fund the wall.

After the president declared a national emergency in February, administration officials turned to military construction accounts under the guise of efforts to stop drug trafficking into the U.S. through a physical barrier.

By March, the Department of Treasury had transferred $1 billion from the 2019 federal budget earmarked for military construction projects to an account for counter-narcotics support that previously contained $517.71 million.

Plans for a second transfer of $1.5 billion are underway.

The House stood by its claim that the Trump administration has abused Congress’ authority by taking money appropriated for one purpose and redistributing it to fulfill the president’s agenda.

“This is going to the very heart of our checks and balances,” House attorney Douglas Letter said last month in court, arguing repeatedly that the Democrat-controlled chamber had no option left but to sue.

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