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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, a day after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. will suspend funding to WHO while it reviews the agency’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trump criticized the international agency’s response to the outbreak at a White House press conference Tuesday, saying “one of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations” that Trump imposed early on in the outbreak.
He said the administration will conduct a “thorough” investigation that should last 60 to 90 days.
It’s unclear exactly what mechanism Trump intends to use to withhold WHO funding, much of which is appropriated by Congress. The president typically does not have the authority to unilaterally redirect congressional funding.
One option might be for Trump to use powers granted to the president under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Under this statute, the president may propose to withhold congressional funds, but it requires congressional approval within 45 days. Absent this approval, the funds must be returned to their original, congressionally mandated purpose after 45 days.