The White House had cause for celebration after a 5-4 Supreme Court decision recently in favor of allocating $2.5 billion in Defense Department funds to the building of the long-anticipated and controversial US-Mexico border wall.
Predictably, President Donald Trump lauded the news on twitter saying it was a “big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”
Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2019
A staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, Dror Ladin, worked with groups who filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s declaration of emergency-powers to acquire funding for the border wall.
Ladin offered a statement on the most recent turn of events:
“The Supreme Court didn’t give Trump’s abuse of emergency powers the stamp of approval, or say anything about whether the wall construction was lawful. Nor did the Supreme Court say that our clients lack standing… As our lawsuit proceeds, we will continue to make the case that our clients, who will be harmed because of Trump’s xenophobic wall, deserve their day in court to prevent and undo that harm.”-ACLU attorney Dror Ladin
The ACLU continues forward with its case, filed for the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, to try and block the use of military funds for the border wall and it will be heard in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
But even as litigation and controversy roll on, The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Pentagon officials have announced which programs in particular would lose their funds to the border wall construction.
Shockingly, about $224 million would come from the Blended Retirement System, a benefit program within the military’s retirement system similar to civilian 401(k) programs.
That’s not the only program losing funds: $604 million that was supposed to support Afghan security efforts, $251 million that was to be used destroy US chemical weapons, and $343 million “in spending from Air Force weapons programs where officials have negotiated reductions or canceled systems” said the WSJ.
Todd Harrison, Director of the Defense Budget Analysis Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was interviewed for the Journal piece.
He said the pattern of shifting funds around among programs in government isn’t entirely uncommon but that the SIZE and unconventional method of Trump’s border wall transfers WAS unusual at best.