Biden Treasury Department authorizations, announced late last year, rolled back safeguards on U.S. humanitarian aid, a move that is likely to pave the way for millions in taxpayer dollars to reach “designated terrorists, human rights abusers, and violent authoritarian regimes,” according to a congressional foreign policy leader.
The authorizations, which will make it easier for aid dollars to be allocated in conflict zones and areas where terrorist activity is taking place are generating concerns in Congress. Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), the incoming chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that in its rush to push aid dollars out the door, the Biden administration is relaxing longstanding safeguards meant to stop taxpayer aid from enriching malign regimes and terrorism supporters.
“By relaxing longstanding basic restrictions on the provision of aid to countries subject to U.S. sanctions, [the] action by the Biden administration increases the likelihood some of our assistance funding will go to designated terrorists, human rights abusers, and violent authoritarian regimes,” McCaul said in a statement. “I urge the administration to reverse this decision.”
As part of this recalibration, the Treasury Department issued authorizations that will inject U.S. taxpayer dollars into areas that have historically been subject to strict sanctions, including in China, Cuba, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Iran, and other conflict areas, according to congressional officials who reviewed the new initiative.
The Treasury Department changes, these sources said, remove longstanding restrictions that prevent U.S. aid from being injected into sanctioned areas. To skirt these restrictions, the United States will funnel taxpayer dollars to United Nations organizations working in these conflict zones.