In response to the World Health Organization’s allegedly botched response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has announced that it is redirecting the flow of funding instead to boots-on-the-ground organizations Samaritan’s Purse and the Red Cross.
As we reported last week, calls to defund the WHO, an offshoot of the United Nations, had crescendoed in light of the organization’s apparent favoritism toward China in spite of being heavily funded by the American taxpayer.
Trump announced last Tuesday that the U.S. would halt monetary contributions to the WHO and begin an investigation into the organization’s failure to vet coronavirus data from China in the pandemic’s earliest days, such as when it parroted Chinese authorities’ reports in January that human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus was unlikely:
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
Now, according to the New York Post, the White House budget office has instructed federal agencies to divert funds intended for the World Health Organization to groups that do similar work. This move, the Post reports, seems to indicate that Trump’s 60-day suspension of WHO funding will be permanent.
The Post reports:
Trump administration officials have ceased “voluntary” contributions from agencies including USAID, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services — totaling about $300 million-$400 million a year.
An administration official told The Post that efforts were underway to redirect “every single pot of money” from the WHO to other organizations. Large international relief organizations already are in many cases doing similar work, they said.
The administration official said that the White House Office of Management and Budget would send any necessary notifications to Congress when there are decisions to redirect funds, though in some cases that may be unnecessary.
In addition to the organizaton’s alleged “China-centrism” and dire need of “meaningful reforms,” Trump administration officials also reportedly pointed to WHO’s “indulgent” travel budget and, worst of all, its left-bent policy priorities on climate change and abortion.
According to the Associated Press, the annual WHO travel budget is about $200 million, more than double the budgets of many of its health programs.
“WHO spent about $71 million on AIDS and hepatitis. It devoted $61 million to malaria. To slow the spread of tuberculosis, WHO invested $59 million,” AP reported. However, diseases such as polio have a staggering $450 million annual budget, possibly due to the fact that polio has a vaccine.
Unsurprisingly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed on Wednesday to challenge what she called Trump’s “illegal” suspension of WHO funds, though she did not specify how at the time. In response, the New York Post notes, the United States has no legal obligation to fund the WHO.
In a statement to The Daily Caller, a senior administration official compared the WHO to a crooked contractor:
“If you pay a contractor to build you a house and the roof falls in, you don’t keep paying them, you find a new contractor. WHO clearly failed to do its job, and continues to make serious mistakes that puts our nation’s safety and security at risk, including allowing the reopening of wet markets. It shouldn’t be controversial for the U.S. to want to partner with international organizations that will actually protect international health.”
The WHO has long received criticism for its actively pro-abortion stance, but that criticism intensified when the organization issued guidance declaring abortion an “essential service” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Women’s choices and rights to sexual and reproductive health care should be respected, irrespective of whether or not she has a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection,” the organization said in a statement.
While it’s deeply regrettable that this decision had to come after the loss of thousands of lives, we praise God that—for now, anyway—the U.S. taxpayer will not be inadvertently supporting the UN’s pro-abortion agenda and will instead help these worthy organizations provide real help.
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