Gov. Tony Evers authorized the state to join a multi-state lawsuit against Pres. Donald Trump to prevent the reallocation of defense funds to the country’s southern border wall.
The suit — led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and attorneys general from 18 other states — alleged the court should rule against the Department of Defense’s diversion of already allocated funds to the border wall fund is unconstitutional and a violation of Congress’ appropriation power.
This is at least the second suit Wisconsin has joined over the president’s national emergency declaration to spend billions of dollars on the border wall during Josh Kaul’s time as Attorney General.
According to the lawsuit, the diversion of the military funds to the border wall construction includes $101 million taken away from funds for heavy expanded mobile tactical trucks — exclusively made by Oshkosh Defense.
Evers said military construction projects are also at risk of being defunded, including over $97 million for projects in Wisconsin alone.
“This diversion by the Trump Administration is a wasteful use of taxpayer dollars and neglects the needs of our state National Guard units,” Evers said in a statement. “There is simply no justification for the president's continued desire to create a crisis at the border, and this move negatively impacts not only Wisconsin's economy, but the safety of our communities.”
Back in February, Sen. Tammy Balwin, D-Wis. — a member of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee — sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper expressing objection to the transfer of $3.8 billion in funds to the border wall initiative.
Baldwin similarly expressed disappointment about the possible effect the diversion of funds would have on Wisconsin’s economy.
“President Trump promised the people of Wisconsin that Mexico would pay for his border wall and now he is making American taxpayers fund it,” Sen. Baldwin said. “Wisconsin manufacturers strengthen our national defense and create jobs, but Trump is taking funding away from our economy and the workers that build it.”
Oshkosh Defense President John Bryan said to WBAY while he can’t comment on what the U.S. Government’s plans would mean for the company, he said the company is committed to constructing whatever is needed.
"What we can tell you is that our 3,100 team members and 750 direct suppliers are working hard each day to support our U.S. military customer,” Bryan said. “We are committed to our mission to build the world’s best TWVs that protect our brave men and women in uniform.”