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Defund the U.S. Agency for International Development

Ben Franklin with Lock and Chain

On August 1, 2023, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), joined by five other Representatives, announced they would be co-sponsoring a bill to defund and abolish the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  That bill has now been officially introduced, designated as H.R. 5108, and referred to the House Foreign Affairs and Appropriations Committees.  In this noble effort, Mr. Gaetz has been joined by Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL).  Bravo, to these courageous ladies and gentlemen.

USAID is not often in the news, so some background is useful.  It was created when President John F. Kennedy issued an Executive Order after the passage of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, to coordinate U.S. civilian foreign assistance aid.  The Biden budget requests USAID be given an 10 percent increase, giving USAID $32 billion to spend around the world for seemingly laudable goals, such as fighting poverty and famine, providing disaster relief, and assisting with economic development projects.

Before discussing how USAID went off track, there are some threshold questions about foreign aid that should be asked.  First, why does Congress believe it has the money to give away to countries when our federal government is running an annual deficit of approximately $1.4 trillion, and domestic problems such as homelessness expanding?  Second, when was the last time Congress carefully analyzed whether the hundreds of billions spent by USAID were well spent?  Third, where in the U.S. Constitution does Congress find the power to engage in acts of international charity?  But for now, we will put aside those rarely-asked, thorny questions to focus on what USAID actually does.

By now, we all know that we should never assume that spending decisions being made by government are made for selfless purposes – and USAID shows this point clearly.  As just one example, USAID subsidizes countries to use Genetically Modified seeds that create plants termed Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).  While plants from those genetically engineered seeds can repel insects leading to greater crop yield, many scientists believe that GMO plants are a long-term danger to health.  Also, GMO plants do not generate seeds that can be saved and used the next season, making farmers dependent on companies like Monsanto to buy their seeds each year.  In our Crony Capitalist Controlled Administration, U.S. corporate interests ensure USAID funds are spent to help their business interests, even if they impoverish foreign farmers.  But we should not worry because Bill Gates is a big proponent of GMO experiments in Africa, and he says they are safe and effective.

Last year, the Heritage Foundation released a devastating report entitled: “Congress Must Stop Biden’s Misuse of U.S. Foreign Aid to Impose His Radical Social Agenda on the World.”  If anything, the title understates the case to abolish USAID.  The report explains how the Biden Administration has turned USAID away from focusing on food, clean water, and disaster relief, to exporting the most radical left-wing agenda imaginable.  According to the Report, USAID now has become “a global platform from which to implement overseas a rigidly ideological and domestically divisive agenda to promote abortion, climate action, ‘gender equity,’ and ‘racial justice,’ goals that are likely to undermine the economic prospects and self-reliance of USAID’s beneficiaries.”  (Emphasis added.)

To advance the Biden Administration goal to increase “sexual and reproductive health rights,” America now pays to facilitate abortion overseas through partnerships with the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO).  Heritage explains that Biden’s USAID has reduced religious freedom to the same level as LGBTQI+ and abortion rights.  As a result of the Biden Administration’s 2021 National Gender Strategy, taxpayer-funded foreign aid now uses “‘an intersectional approach that considers barriers and ‘oppressed’ identities confer greater victimhood to select categories of people.”  It is, as Heritage Foundation, notes, “the first time the U.S. government explicitly endorsed Marxism as the guiding principle for foreign assistance.”  (Emphasis added.)

USAID has also become a hub for promoting so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) dogma across the world.  As Heritage notes, “Applying this domestic DEI obsession globally is absurd.  Most beneficiaries of U.S. foreign aid are ‘people of color’ (mis)governed and mistreated by other ‘people of color.’”  “As a condition for aid, USAID is requiring ‘communities of color’ to accept an alien value system that runs counter to their firmly held values and belief systems …, the antithesis of the Administration’s progressive theology.”

USAID pushes the Biden climate agenda, prioritizing a theoretical future climate problem over today’s poverty and hunger.  Heritage reports that many Africans understand that agenda to be  harmful to underdeveloped nations:

An African civil society leader denounced Western NGOs (which stand to receive billions in donor funding to execute “climate” programs) for lobbying against the use and production of fossil fuels in Africa, highlighting that “more than seven percent of children in sub-Sahara die before they turn five years old” due to poverty,” and adding that while Africa is sympathetic to global efforts to curb the negative effects of climate change, they should not be forced “to pay [for it] with our lives.”

Gaetz’ bill chronicles a long list of other USAID misdeeds. 

  • “USAID has provided a $3.7 million grant … to ‘provide support for gender equity programs’ in Pakistan.” 
  • “Eighty-five grants totaling $138.1 million have been provided through USAID … for ‘humanitarian assistance’ to support open borders policy around tahe globe.”
  • “USAID has provided a $1 million grant to the United Nations Development Programme for supporting ‘LGBTI human rights advocacy in Asia.’”  “The international affairs budget for the fiscal year 2022, passed by the House of Representatives in July 2021 … undid historical precedent by repealing the Helms Amendment that previously restricted United States foreign aid from paying for abortions.” 

Gaetz convincingly argues that “USAID does not serve a meaningful purpose.  It is used as a slush fund for international wokeism.  

Over the Arch at Washington Square Park in New York City is engraved a quotation from George Washington: “Let Us Raise a Standard to Which the Wise and Honest Can Repair. The event is in the hand of God.” Matt Gaetz has done just that with his bill.  Now we will see how many Republicans will rally to that banner in the hope that God will give us a victory in this continuing war against atheistic Marxism.

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