Lowey Statement on the Trump Administration’s Latest Ploy to Withhold Foreign Assistance
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, today responded to the Trump administration’s temporary freeze over the weekend of key foreign aid funds.
A directive issued by Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Michael Duffey to the Deputy Secretary of State and the Deputy USAID Administrator states that the letter “constitutes a reapportionment of all previously approved apportionments” of Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 funds from specified State, Foreign Operations accounts. But this may itself be an illegal impoundment. While the administration is reportedly considering sending Congress a rescissions package, the President must first submit a rescission pursuant to a special message and cannot withhold funds in anticipation of a rescissions package.
Lowey issued the following statement:
“I am deeply concerned by this administration’s latest ploy to withhold foreign assistance in what may be a violation of the Impoundment Control Act.
“These funds were appropriated by overwhelming bipartisan majorities after lengthy negotiations between the House, the Senate, and the White House. Not to mention, President Trump signed into law the legislation that includes these funds, which are essential to promoting U.S. global leadership and protecting the security of the American people.
“The policies and programs they support fulfill U.S. treaty obligations; support our allies and partners; protect the public against Ebola and other infectious diseases; counter Russian aggression and Chinese influence; respond to humanitarian crises in Venezuela, Syria, Burma, and elsewhere; counter violent extremism in places such as the Sahel and Yemen; and support initiatives like the Indo-Pacific Strategy, Power Africa, and the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.
“This administration seems determined to ignore the will of Congress and undermine American leadership. I will do everything in my power to stop this illegitimate action taken by the administration.”