In the final hours before President Trump took office on Friday morning the outgoing president shocked congress. On inauguration day the Obama administration defied Republican opposition and quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority. This is money that GOP members of Congress had been blocking. In addition to the $221 million for the Palestinians, the Obama administration also told a few members of Congress on Friday it was going ahead with the release of another $6 million in foreign affairs spending. Included were $4 million for climate change programs and $1.25 million for U.N. organizations, the congressional aides said. The aides and the State Department official weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.
GOP lawmakers; Ed Royce of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger of Texas, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee placed holds on the spending of this money.
Congressional holds are generally respected by the executive branch. In typical fashion Obama did not respect a congressional hold of funds. He knew he was on the way out, and did what he wanted to do.
The $1.25 million for U.N. agencies is a voluntary contribution to the U.N. Peace-building Fund. President Trump’s comments before he took office regarding the U.N. made it clear his feelings about the U.N. Obama took it upon himself to release those funds to the U.N. knowing the administration succeeding him wouldn’t approve.
The $4 million for climate change programs includes assistance for clean energy. We aren’t exactly sure how that money is being used.
The last-minute allocation also contained $1.05 million in funding for the State Department’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan office and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.
We can expect the funding to the Palestinians is likely to draw anger from the Trump White House. The Palestinian authority is a state sponsor of terror through Hamas. This is not the first time the Obama has put money in the pockets of terrorist organizations; but it sure will be the last.
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