19 states have banded together to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its recent allocation of $3.8 billion in defense funding for the border wall.
According to Luis Miguel of The New American, the argument these states made was that this action was unconstitutional and could bring about harmful environmental consequences.
“Use of these additional federal funds for the construction of a border wall is contrary to Congress’s intent and in violation of the U.S. Constitution,” read the lawsuit, filed on March 3, 2020 in federal court in California.
In 2019, President Trump declared a national emergency in response to a large wave of migrants coming across the southern border.
In addition to the declaration, the president announced he would use Department of Defense (DOD) funds to build the border wall because Congress did not allocate the full amount he wanted in the federal budget.
The Pentagon revealed to Congress last month that it would transfer an additional $3.8 billion for the wall by drawing out money from weapons programs.
The 19 states sustain that the allocation is unconstitutional because it is in violation of the separation of powers and Congress’ power of the purse.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue that using DOD funds negatively impacts communities whose economies depend on military spending.
The lawsuit reads:
Defense spending in Connecticut is critical not just to national military readiness but to Connecticut’s economy. The Administration’s planned funding diversions threaten to harm the State’s economy, employment, and tax revenues. As of 2017, annual defense spending injected $15 billion into Connecticut’s economy, accounting for 5.6 percent of the State’s per capita GDP — a higher percentage than in all but two other states.
DOD’s reprogramming action diverts funding away from critical military projects for which Connecticut-based companies produce key components.
Further, the states claim that the Trump administration did not factor in environmental impacts. They described the White House’s decision as a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“President Trump is risking the safety of every American by diverting taxpayer dollars from our military to fund the same xenophobic campaign promises he’s made for the last four years,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement.
Luis Miguel noted that in addition to New York, “the states participating in the lawsuit are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.”
The suit also asserts that the wall will cause environmental damage in some of the states where it will be built.
“Defendants’ use of the diverted funds to construct parts of their border wall in New Mexico will also harm New Mexico’s sovereign interests by imposing environmental harm to the State. The environmental damage caused by a border wall in New Mexico would include the blocking of wildlife migration, flooding, and habitat loss,” the suit states.
Last week, the Sierra Club, American Civil Liberties Union, and Southern Border Communities Coalition also took legal action regarding the reallocation of funds for the wall.
“The president is doubling down on his unlawful scheme to raid taxpayer funds for a xenophobic campaign promise that is destroying national treasures, harming the environment, and desecrating tribal lands,” an ACLU attorney declared.
The Left is working overtime to derail President Trump’s America First agenda.
Immigration is the most crucial of our time.
This is one battle America First patriots cannot afford to lose
Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?
America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad
Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.
Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy.
In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”
Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.
That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.
Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:
“Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”
Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 24, 2020
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”
All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting:https://t.co/0g3jpVPsDm
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 24, 2020
The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change.
Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.
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