Guest essay by Eric Worrall
US Democrats are incensed that President Trump is blocking US funds for the incompetent UN World Health Organisation.
Trump’s WHO funding threat echoes action that got him impeached, Democrats say
PUBLISHED WED, APR 15 20203:50 PM EDTUPDATED WED, APR 15 20204:00 PM EDT
President Donald Trump’s first step toward pulling World Health Organization funding during the coronavirus pandemic has set the stage for another legal tug of war with House Democrats wary of him treading on their power.
“This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday.
The party also raised the specter of the White House’s decision to withhold congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine last year as Trump urged the country to investigate his political rival, apparent Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The action led to the House impeaching Trump. The Senate acquitted him in February.
“In a desperate attempt to deflect blame, President Trump is violating the same spending laws that brought about his impeachment,” House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement. “The President does not have the unilateral authority to withhold the United States’ assessed contribution to the World Health Organization.”
…Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/15/coronavirus-democrats-warn-trump-on-world-health-organization-funding.html
Reading the Impoundment entry on Wikipedia, it seems likely President Trump can only delay funding for the WHO for 45 days – a longer delay requires approval by both houses.
Presidents used to have the power to unilaterally cancel wasteful expenditure. The power was first used by President Thomas Jefferson to veto the expenditure of $50,000 on gunboats.
The Presidential power to permanently veto funding was removed under President Nixon in 1974; the Democrat Congress was incensed that Nixon kept using the impoundment power to withdraw funding from their bills, and used the Watergate scandal to pressure Nixon into approving the restriction of Presidential authority to withhold funds.
A few years later US National Debt started ballooning (see image at the top of the page).
President Clinton attempted to introduce a similar power, a line item veto, but quickly lost that power when the line item veto act was challenged and overturned in the courts.