Leaders of the House of Representatives voted on Thursday to authorize a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over his national emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The President’s sham emergency declaration and unlawful transfers of funds have undermined our democracy, contravening the vote of the bipartisan Congress,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement announcing that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group voted to allow the suit.
She added that Trump’s action “clearly violates” appropriations laws by siphoning funds already designated by Congress for other uses. She said Congress has to “protect our system of checks and balances.”
“The House will once again defend our Democracy and our Constitution, this time in the courts,” Pelosi said. “No one is above the law or the Constitution, not even the President.”
Trump declared a national emergency in mid-February, aiming to divert billions of dollars from the Defense Department and other earmarked government funds to construct a wall on the border.
In late February the House took a first step to oppose the emergency declaration, voting largely along party lines to block the president from redirecting military construction money to a border wall. Senate Democrats, joined by 12 of their Republican colleagues, passed their version of the resolution in mid-March. However, Trump vetoed the bill — the first time he has done so.
He declared his emergency a day after Congress passed a bill to avert another government shutdown; the legislation did not include more than $5 billion he wanted for a border wall. In December his demand for wall funding led to a record-long partial government shutdown, which left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay for weeks.