Republican Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has reintroduced legislation to the GOP-led House to defund the World Health Organization (WHO).
Roy unveiled the bill on Thursday amid mounting concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s influence over the United Nations agency.
The bill is titled ‘‘No Taxpayer Funding for the World Health Organization Act.”
It cracks down on contributions to the WHO after they have risen to hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The United States has now become one of the China-friendly WHO’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 about the bill.
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 legislation states.
Assessed contributions are “required dues a government agrees to pay when it becomes a member,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
Voluntary contributions “fluctuate annually and are often earmarked for specific projects.”
Roy is a staunch conservative and a firm believer in Congress’s “power of the purse” as a means to enact change.
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.
In the spring of 2020, President Donald Trump announced that he intended to halt funding to the WHO.
The then-president said the funding was stopped while his administration reviewed the WHO’s handling of the Covid pandemic.
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.
Biden told the UN chief that 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 WHO.
Fauci also revealed that the U.S. would join the WHO’s COVAX vaccine initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
At the time, Roy quickly introduced legislation to slash WHO funding.
However, the House, controlled by the Democrats at the time, did not take any action on the bill.
From 2020-2021, the United States was the third largest donor to the WHO, the group reported last May.
American taxpayers gave the pro-China organization nearly $700 million in that one-year window.
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 in becoming law with Democrats still in charge of the Senate and Biden in the White House.