A Washington judge has ruled that $89 million of military funds — money that had been earmarked for a military construction project in that state — cannot be diverted to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall, the Associated Press reports.
Trump has made the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a focal point of his presidency. This was the case even before he won the election, as he promised that not only would the wall be built but that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico, however, did not pay for it, and neither did Congress appropriate the billions of dollars that would have been required for the project, instead putting aside some money for repairs to existing sections of the wall.
As The Washington Post reports, Trump turned toward the military budget, diverting billions of dollars in military funds to go toward the construction of the wall. That diversion of military funds has meant that the projects that those monies were earmarked for have been delayed, scrapped altogether, or paid for with other forms of financing.
One such endeavor, reports Navy Times, was an $89 million construction effort intended to bring a pier to Naval Base Kitsap, west of Seattle, where the Pacific fleet of nuclear submarines is based.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit to stop the diversion, claiming, among other things, that losing that construction money would cost the state $2.6 million in tax revenue over the next two years.
In this week’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein wrote that the diversion of funds was unlawful for two reasons. First, Congress controls federal spending, not the president, and Congress had specifically forbidden Trump from spending any money — beyond what Congress appropriates to him — on the border wall. Second, she said that the transfer was unlawful because it effectively moved funding from a military project to domestic law enforcement.
“Congress repeatedly and deliberately declined to appropriate the full funds the President requested for a border wall along the southern border of the United States,” Rothstein wrote.
Outside of Washington, military spending projects remain on hold or canceled as funds put aside for those campaigns have been diverted to the border wall. For example, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, Kentucky’s Fort Campbell was to get a new middle school on its base, but that has been taken off the table until further notice, as the money earmarked for it has been set aside for the wall.