Washington Sues to Stop Swap of Navy Base Funds for Border Wall
The state of Washington sued the Trump administration again, it's 48th such action, this time over the decision to take $89 million from the military construction budget for a Puget Sound Navy base project and spend it instead on barriers along the border with Mexico.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the move, which President Donald Trump said was necessary to address a national emergency, violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The law on shifting money in the face of a national emergency doesn’t allow such a transfer, Ferguson said.
“Military construction funds must go to another military construction project. The border wall is not a military construction project,” he said. The need for the border wall also doesn’t meet the requirements of a national emergency because so much time passed between the time Trump declared the emergency and the money was transferred, he added.
The money was allocated by Congress to begin work on construction at the Bangor Naval Station, where nuclear-armed submarines are based. It was to be used to build a pier and a maintenance facility for vessels that provide security for the subs until they dive in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
It was among projects the Pentagon announced earlier this month would be delayed so that some $3.6 billion in military construction could be rerouted to build portions of the border wall.
Federal courts have ruled the administration has the authority to take money from other budgets, but this may be the first court challenge filed over the transfer of military construction funds.
It is the 48th lawsuit the state has filed over actions by the Trump administration, the state has won 21 of those actions, and the remainder are still pending.