The Trump administration has put a temporary hold on the majority of congressionally approved foreign aid funds, pending a review by the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Critics say the move undercuts Congress and fear that it is another attempt by the administration to cancel aid programs that advocates see as vital to US interests.
The Office of Management and Budget informed the two agencies in a letter Saturday that unobligated funds would be frozen until “three business days after” State and USAID provide an accounting of how much remains in specific accounts and how the funds are being spent. Those funds expire on September 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was out of the country when the letter, addressed to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, was sent. Congress was on recess.
A USAID official told CNN the funding amounts to between $2 billion and $4 billion.