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Judge Barbara Rothstein, of Seattle, said it is illegal to reallocate the 89 million dollars planned for a Navy dock at the base where the nuclear submarine fleet in the Pacific Ocean is.
A federal judge in Seattle said in a known ruling Thursday that President Donald Trump cannot reallocate $ 89 million from a military construction project in the state of Washington to pay for the wall on the Mexican border.
The federal Supreme Court and other judicial bodies have given the Trump administration a green light to begin reallocating billions of dollars of military spending to the wall, and work has already been done on some sections.
But district judge Barbara Rothstein ruled that the complaint filed by Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson contains diverse arguments that are not covered by those decisions .
Rothstein ruled that reallocating funds is illegal because Congress, which has power over money in accordance with the Constitution, specifically denied Trump more money for the wall .
Specifically, Washington’s 89 million dollars were allocated for a dock at the Navy’s Kitsap Base , west of Seattle, where a fleet of nuclear submarines in the Pacific Ocean has its port.
The decision was also illegal because it would take money that Congress allocated for military construction and use it for internal police work, the judge added.
“Congress repeatedly and deliberately refused to allocate all the funds the president requested for a wall along the southern border of the United States,” Rothstein wrote.
The decision is known just one day after several congressmen from both parties expressed concern about the reallocation of money from the Pentagon to finance the construction of the border barrier, leaving the planned purchases of airplanes, drones, helicopters and other equipment American armed forces.
While Trump has long insisted that Mexico would pay for the barrier, it has not been so. In late 2018 and early 2019, Congress refused to give Trump all the money he wanted for a border wall, his main election promise of 2016, which led to a partial government shutdown for 35 days. Lawmakers eventually gave him $ 1.4 billion.
In response, Trump declared a national emergency. The federal government said that allowed it to divert almost three times that amount, 3.6 billion dollars, from military accounts to build 175 miles (280 kilometers) of dividing fence in California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.
Last year, the federal Supreme Court overturned a court order that prevented the government from spending $ 2.5 billion of Department of Defense funds designated for military pensions and drug fighting. But legal challenges continue around that money, as well as about the $ 3.6 billion that the Pentagon is diverting from military construction projects.
Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson said losing that money would cost the state $ 2.6 million in tax revenue over the next two years , and that is enough to give Washington the right to challenge government plans in court. federal. The judge agreed.
“This ruling is an important victory for the rule of law and the system of weights and balances that the founding fathers enshrined in our Constitution,” Ferguson said in a written statement. “We hope that these 89 million dollars will be used as planned by Congress: to support a military construction project in the state of Washington,” he added.