By Michael Bastasch
The Obama administration has taken $500 million appropriated by Congress to fight the Zika virus to fund the United Nations Green Climate Fund, which gives foreign countries money for green energy projects.
“The threat to adults from Zika is relatively small, but the threat to pre-born children is very high,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford wrote in an oped for The Daily Signal. “Our national priority rightly focuses on protecting the life of these young children in the womb, since each child has value, no matter their age or size.”
Lankford sharply criticized the Obama administration for using Department of State funds meant to fight infectious diseases to fund the president’s global warming agenda. Moreover, the U.N. agency Obama funded recognizes Palestine as a state — making it possibly illegal to pay into the Green Climate Fund.
“While I understand that intelligent people can disagree on the human effects on the global climate, it is hard to imagine a reason why the administration would prioritize the U.N. Green Climate Fund over protecting the American people, especially pregnant women, from the Zika virus,” Lanford wrote.
“The White House should not throw money at the U.N. while a vaccine for a virus known to cause severe, debilitating neurological birth defects is put on the back burner,” he wrote.
President Barack Obama pledged $3 billion towards the Green Climate Fund, and made the first $500 million payment in March. The move was instantly criticized by Republicans who said they did not appropriate any funds for the U.N.’s green fund.
But lawmakers did not include a prohibition on re-purposing funds to the Green Climate Fund in last year’s budget deal. This gave Obama an opening to divert money from fighting the Zika virus to helping the U.N.’s global warming ambitions.
Now, Republicans are pushing back. Most recently, lawmakers questioned the legality of funding the Green Climate Fund, since it’s run by a U.N. body that recognizes the “State of Palestine.” Palestine became a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March even though it’s not a U.N. member.
A 1994 law prevents the Obama administration from funding UNFCCC activities since it recognizes Palestine as a state, according to Republicans. The State Department, however, has said it still plans on funding the UNFCCC’s green agenda.
“So, the administration found a way to offend our ally Israel, delay the Zika response and, if Congress allows him, add another billion dollars to our national debt. That is a busy month,” Lankford wrote.