Not so fast, Mr. Obama: President Donald Trump and his administration announced that they will put a stop to a last-minute transfer of $221 million to the Palestinian Authority by former President Barack Obama, one that Congress had been attempting to hold at bay.
Obama’s former secretary of state John Kerry had attempted to sneak the $221 million “gift” past lawmakers by notifying Congress on Friday morning – hours before Trump was sworn in – that the State Department would release the funds.
Ostensibly, the Obama administration meant for the funds to be used as part of good governance programs and Gaza reconstruction efforts overseen by the Palestinian Authority. Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Kay Granger (R-TX) had both blocked the windfall over concerns about Palestine’s plans to join international organizations and direct their censure toward Israel.
While the move by Obama and Kerry was perfectly legal, the Trump team has expressed consternation about the ways in which the former administration spent taxpayer funds.
“[Trump] is very concerned about how taxpayer money is spent, whether it’s sent overseas and what we get for it in terms of the relationship or our support for a democracy or aid to another country for their defenses,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during Tuesday’s press briefing.
“But he’s going to be examining all aspects of the budget,” he continued. “He’s going to make sure that every deal, every dollar that is spent by the government is done in a way that respects the American taxpayer.”