With Republicans now in control of the House, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) reintroduced legislation Thursday to defund the World Health Organization and raised concerns about China’s influence over the group.
The bill, titled ‘‘No Taxpayer Funding for the World Health Organization Act,” cracks down on contributions to the WHO that have risen to hundreds of millions of dollars annually, making the United States one of the United Nations agency’s largest donors.
“Funneling millions of taxpayer dollars to the corrupt World Health Organization that serves the Chinese Communist Party is a slap in the face to hardworking American families struggling under record high inflation, and to all those whose lives and livelihoods were ruined and destroyed by the COVID pandemic,” Roy said in a statement given to The Daily Wire.
The legislation takes aim at the two types of contributions to the WHO. “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, effective on the date of the enactment of this Act, the United States may not provide any assessed or voluntary contributions to the World Health Organization,” the bill states.
Assessed contributions are “required dues a government agrees to pay when it becomes a member,” while voluntary contributions “fluctuate annually and are often earmarked for specific projects,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
Roy, a conservative who is a firm believer in Congress’ “power of the purse” as a means to enact change, has accused the WHO of “siding with the communists in China” over concerns that the group helped Beijing cover up the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. His bill is the latest salvo in recent years over U.S. contributions to the WHO as the group faced scrutiny for how it responded to the health crisis.
Then-President Donald Trump announced in the spring of 2020 that he intended to halt funding to the WHO while his administration reviewed its handling of COVID. He accused the group of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the threat.
Trump’s declaration prompted condemnation from Democrats.
“President Trump must stop his petty, counterproductive political games,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who was chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee at the time. “The coronavirus cannot just be defeated here in the United States, it has to be defeated in every conceivable location throughout the world.”
Soon after taking office in January 2021, Biden wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to say the United States no longer planned to withdraw its membership from the group. Meanwhile, Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced the United States would resume supporting the World Health Organization and join its COVAX vaccine initiative to distribute COVID vaccines around the world.
At the time, Roy quickly introduced legislation to slash WHO funding, but the House, then controlled by the Democrats, did not take any action on the bill. From 2020-2021, the United States was the third largest donor to the WHO, investing nearly $700 million, the group reported last May. Only Germany and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed more money in that timeframe.
Roy’s new bill stands a better chance for consideration with Republicans now running the lower chamber, but it still faces long odds to become law with Democrats still in charge of the Senate and Biden in the White House.
“The WHO not only regularly promotes abortion and radical gender ideology but also praised China for their ‘leadership’ at the beginning of COVID-19 and has done nothing to hold the CCP accountable for the spread of COVID-19,” Roy said in his statement to The Daily Wire. “It is far past time for Congress to use its power of the purse to cut off US funding to this corrupt international body just like the Trump Administration did.”