November 24, 2020

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Democrats: Trump WHO funding hold skirted federal budget law

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House Democrats on Friday accused the White House of abusing its powers in withholding funding from the World Health Organization, likening the move to a freeze that administration officials put on military aid to Ukraine last year.

Several House committees released documents obtained from the Office of Management and Budget, showing that the budget office put a temporary hold on funds destined for the WHO beginning Aug. 19, 2020.

“The documents obtained by our Committees show OMB took legally binding steps to cater to the President’s dangerous and misguided whims, using an apportionment footnote to freeze expiring funds and circumvent Congress — the same tactic used to illegally withhold aid to Ukraine and which ultimately led to President Trump’s impeachment,” read a statement from House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y.

A senior administration official disputed the charge, saying the administration had “made crystal clear that we were no longer going to be providing funding for WHO because of their corruption and incompetence in tackling the coronavirus.” 

President Donald Trump wrote to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on May 18 criticizing the organization for a “failed response” to the COVID-19 outbreak and the WHO’s “alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China.”

Paul M. Krawzak

2020-11-20 09:47:55

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