US: Judge questions whether House can sue over border wall funding - PressFrom - US
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USJudge questions whether House can sue over border wall funding

02:50  24 may  2019
02:50  24 may  2019 Source:   rollcall.com

Pentagon awards $646 mln contract for border wall in Arizona

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“We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. In a budget deal passed by Congress to avert a second government shutdown, nearly .4 billion was allocated toward border fencing.

The clash raises questions over congressional control of spending, the scope of emergency powers granted to the president, and how far the courts are willing to go to settle such a dispute. Many critics have challenged whether an emergency truly exists on the Southern border that a wall would solve

Judge questions whether House can sue over border wall funding© Provided by Local News RSS EN-US (Getty Images/Premium Access/Royalty-Free) Border Wall in Texas A federal judge in Washington expressed skepticism Thursday about whether the federal courts should jump into the middle of an “ugly dispute between the political branches” over the Trump administration plan to move around federal funds to build a border wall.

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden said that a House lawsuit to block the Trump administration’s spending was in “unusual territory,” since higher courts have never ruled on whether the legislative branch could sue the executive branch.

[Trump wants 400 TSA agents sent to the border. Democrats say that may hurt morale]

U.S. judge to consider bid to block Trump's emergency border wall funds

U.S. judge to consider bid to block Trump's emergency border wall funds President Trump's emergency declaration to divert more than $6 billion to build a wall on the border will face its first test in court.

Coalition accuses president of ‘robbing taxpayer funds ’ in legal challenge that could slow progress of border wall . A coalition of 16 US states led by California has sued Donald Trump’s administration over his decision to declare a national emergency in order to fund a wall along the Mexico border .

English News Lesson on Border Wall : U.S. government shutdown over border wall - FREE worksheets, online activities, listening in 7 Levels The U.S. government will partially shut down over the Christmas period due to a lack of agreement over funding for the proposed wall along the

And McFadden said the issue of whether the House can bring the lawsuit at all “strikes me as a significant issue in this case.” He spent most of a three-hour hearing grappling with the broader separation-of-powers showdown over control of government spending.

The judge asked Douglas Letter, the House general counsel, whether the House “utilized all the tools at its disposal before rushing into court.” And at another point, McFadden asked, “There are other tools in your arsenal here, right?”

[TSA workers might not return to work after shutdown, experts worry]

Letter said the House did exactly what it needed to do to deny President Donald Trump’s full request for border wall construction funds with “amazing specificity” during the high-profile government shutdown — and then Trump said he would spend money on the border construction anyway.

Judge appears skeptical of Trump stance in case challenging his emergency declaration for wall funds

Judge appears skeptical of Trump stance in case challenging his emergency declaration for wall funds The administration put together a plan for spending about $6 billion dollars, mostly from the Pentagon budget. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has told Congress the money would build 256 miles of border, with 63 of them completed by the end of the year. Dror Ladin of the ACLU, representing the Sierra Club and the other challengers, said Congress approved only $1.375 billion for border wall construction and only for projects in the Rio Grande Valley. "Congress imposed restrictions on the location, scope and speed with which any wall could lawfully be built.

"We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside Earlier, Trump had said he knew that he did not need to declare an emergency to build the wall , a US President Donald Trump is shown border wall prototypes with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly

Could the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives sue to block him? But, says Yale law professor Cristina Rodriguez, “there are no legal standards by which to judge whether an A House lawsuit likely would claim that the border situation neither requires a military response nor is essential

Congress doesn’t need to pass another law or tweak appropriations riders to say, “no, no, we really meant it,” Letter said. Trump made it clear that he was not happy with Congress and would act on his own, and “he’s not saying, ‘If you would just pass another statute, I’ll stop.’”

The country’s founders would be cheering his argument, Letter said, because “we cannot have the president appropriating money” and the Supreme Court would not be comfortable saying Congress could never sue over the issue.

“There’s nothing more important to the institution of Congress, and therefore to the American people, than the appropriations power,” Letter said.

The Justice Department argued that the Constitution doesn’t hint at litigation between the political branches because it gave them other ways to resolve disputes. The lawsuit “would have been ridiculous” to the founders, James Burnham of the DOJ said.

Wall fight looms again as lawmakers prep for budget talks

Wall fight looms again as lawmakers prep for budget talks The House, Senate, and White House are poised to begin talks next week on a budget deal and raising the debt ceiling, but an accord on 2020 spending could be hobbled once again by a fight over border wall funding. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); “You ask me where this thing is going to fall apart again, it’s over the wall,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said.

Sixteen states sue President Trump's administration over his decision to declare an emergency. The Democrats oppose funding Mr Trump's barrier, a key campaign pledge, and have vowed to contest his With a comfortable majority in the House , Democrats could pass such a resolution to the Senate.

House Democrats are suing the Trump administration over the border wall . One of the key questions House Democrats will face with this lawsuit is whether they have the legal standing to In that case, a federal judge ruled that Republicans had the grounds to sue the White House because

“The Constitution does not give the president the ability to sue the House, and does not give the House the ability to sue the president,” Burnham said.

Congress might have denied the president’s request for border wall funding during the shutdown, Burnham said, but lawmakers then gave the administration the authority to transfer money in two laws last fall [the 2019 Defense authorization and defense spending bills] and lawmakers could have restricted that authority then if they wanted.

That makes this a legal dispute about what some technical statutes mean and whether the administration is not appropriately executing a statute, and not a broad appropriations power dispute, Burnham said.

He added that if there’s no legal debate, a federal law would prevent officials from spending money without congressional approval. Congress could pass more specific legislation — and this litigation is brought by just one chamber of Congress, Burnham said.

McFadden said his instinct is that clearly Congress did deny Trump’s preference for funds, however Congress did give authority for the alternative funding mechanisms used by the administration and did not deny those.

McFadden said he will rule at a later date whether to block the Trump administration from transferring Defense Department funds for the projects.

The House case is one of several challenging the administration plan to spend up to $8.1 billion for construction of southern border barriers under three separate laws. Trump made the move in February after he asked Congress for $5 billion for a border wall and Congress instead appropriated $1.375 billion.

A federal judge in California is also deciding whether to block the spending.

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Trump will make 'dramatic' statement about border this week.
President Trump said he will make a "dramatic" statement about the country's southern border with Mexico either later on Thursday or on Friday. He told reporters the statement would be his biggest on the issue to date and would be about people crossing the border illegally. "This is a big-league statement, but we are going to do something very dramatic on the border," Trump said, adding he was not closing the border. Trump has made immigration a cornerstone of his presidency after promising on his election campaign trail to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

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