Trump wants to cut production of two for the F-35B's next year and transfer other military funds to teh constructoin of a border wall.
Trump wants to cut production of the F-35B’s next year and transfer other military funds to the construction of a border wall.
Trump wants to cut production of the F-35B’s next year and transfer other military funds to the construction of a border wall.

Washington – Connecticut has joined 18 other states in a lawsuit that aims to block the Trump administration from diverting $3.8 billion intended for the National Guard and military equipment to the construction of a border wall.

The lawsuit says the transfer of money is unconstitutional. and ignores the environmental impact of construction, which poses a threat to more than 100 plants and animal species.

“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,” said the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California on Tuesday.

The states also charge that the administration is disregarding the National Environmental Policy Act by failing the consider the environmental impact that construction of the wall could pose to more than 100 sensitive plant and animal species on the U.S.-Mexican border.

After Congress failed last year to appropriate the amount of funds requested by President Donald Trump last year to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, the president declared a national emergency and shifted Pentagon money to wall construction.

Trump aims to do the same this year, kicking off another fight with Democrats and worrying some Republicans whose districts or states depend on the diverted military funding.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has joined a lawsuit aimed at preventing the diversion of Pentagon funds to the wall.

“I will not let Trump steal taxpayer funds, drain Connecticut’s economy, and compromise our safety and security to build a massive money pit designed to foment fear and hate,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said. “We do not want this wall, we do not need this wall, and we will not pay for this wall—both Mexico and Congress delivered that message loud and clear.”

The Pentagon said last month it would cut two of the six F-35B’s whose funding was appropriated by Congress last year. Pratt & Whitney builds the engines for those expensive versions of the F-35, developed solely for the Marines and capable of vertical take offs and landings. Cutting two F-35B’s would divert $233 million to the border wall.

The Pentagon also said it will strip $156 million for advanced procurement for the F-35A, a version of the jet fighter used by the Air Force.

Millions more would come from reprograming money from other weapons systems, including the C-130 program, and eliminating all eight MQ-9 Reaper drones that Congress has funded.

Another $2.2 billion would come from the Pentagon’s counter-narcotics program.

And the National Guard and reserves would lose about $1.3 billion in what the reprogramming request describes as unnecessary funding.

Tong said Connecticut’s National Guard would lose funds for 47 Humvees as well as for new C-130 military transportation aircraft, to be flown out of Bradley International Airport. Also lost would be about $8 million the Connecticut National Guard requested for new equipment it says it needs to respond to emergencies in the state.

The reallocation of another $3.8 billion in military funding means the Pentagon has given nearly $10 billion since last year to help pay for a wall between Mexico and the United States.

“Donald Trump cannot override the will of Congress and hijack our money. That’s not how our Constitution works. Once again, the President has left us no choice but to take legal action to protect Connecticut and the rule of law,” Tong said.

He also said the diversion of money from National Guard procurement accounts and military appropriations will hurt Connecticut’s economy, reduce state tax revenues, damage the state’s critical security infrastructure and impair National Guard readiness.

This is the second time the nation’s Democratic attorneys general have sued to prevent the diversion of Pentagon money. They also sued after the Trump administration announced last year it would divert Pentagon funds to the wall.

Besides Connecticut, the states that filed the lawsuit on Tuesday include California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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5 Comments

  1. Since when did William Tong begin caring about the Constitution? He protects undocumented citizens in our cities and cares not a wit about illegal aliens streaming over our border by the thousands.

  2. Thanks, Ana, for providing insight into this action.

    Mr. Tong should know that when Congress fails to do it’s job, and fund the wall, secure our borders, tunnels, airports, and all other ports, and stop those deadly cartel products and services, along with Chinese imports of deadly drugs, then the POTUS has the moral obligation and Constitutional right to use military and other funds as available, for American life and death causes.

    Mr. Tong thinks he can walk through walls and says that prescription drugs are responsible for the majority of overdose carnage in CT’s streets, turning a blind eye to the truth. Meanwhile, Senators Murphy and Blumenthal cannot get enough of Puerto Rico’s corruption and want more of our taxpayer dollars redistributed to cartel central, never to meet the needs of those in dire condition.

    Perhaps they should pay attention to how much they fail to bring back to CT from DC instead of being concerned for Puerto Rico. Middle class and working poor folks are suffering in their own state.

    1. But you do understand that it is illegal to take Congressionally-appropriated funds for use on the ineffective border wall, right? It’s been well documented that the opioid problem is due to the misuse of prescription drugs…people getting hooked on pain killers. Lastly, can you provide any evidence that relief funds have been redistributed to “cartel central”, whatever that is?

  3. Since when did William Tong begin caring about the Constitution? He protects undocumented citizens in our cities and cares not a wit about illegal aliens streaming over our border by the thousands.

    1. Meg,
      If you care about the Constitution, I recommend you read “Judge Calls Barr’s Handling of Mueller Report “Distorted” and “Misleading” in the New York Times on March 5th by Charlie Savage.
      Very, very disturbing when Attorney General is Presidents protector. He’s supposed to be working For The People, safeguarding us from corruption. In essence, the differences in Mueller’s report AND Barr’s summary description he presented to the Public was so distorted the Judge said Barr cannot be trusted. And Judge wants to see entire unredacted report to see what was buried. The entire report will come out to Public eventually, I would think and hope.
      By the way, the “failing” NY Times has hit a 13 year high in subscriptions. Subscriptions surged after/during Trump years, as folks want real news.

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