A second federal judge barred President Donald Trump from using military construction funds for his Mexico border wall, with a U.S. court ruling Wednesday in Oakland, California, echoing one Tuesday in El Paso, Texas.
The Trump administration and Congress remain at odds over how much taxpayer money to spend on border security as a government shutdown looms next week absent a budget agreement. A year ago, partisan fighting over the wall triggered a record 35-day partial shutdown. Both the El Paso and Oakland judges concluded Trump did an illegal end-run around Congress when he moved to divert billions of dollars of funding toward wall construction after lawmakers refused to earmark more than $1.375 billion.
The president told supporters at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tuesday that he had “started winning in court” on the wall. It isn’t clear whether he knew that shortly before he spoke, the El Paso judge issued an order barring the use of $3.6 billion in Defense Department construction funds.
Neither the Tuesday or Wednesday orders prohibit the administration from using about $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s drug interdiction budget. That’s consistent with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in July which let the administration move forward with building 100 miles of border fencing while the litigation continues.