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Pompeo: State Department 'will work with Congress' on pledged funding to WHO

Pompeo: State Department 'will work with Congress' on pledged funding to WHO
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: US, India to share satellite data | Allegations of racism at Virginia Military Institute | Navy IDs 2 killed in Alabama plane crash US, India to share sensitive satellite data Office of Special Counsel widens Pompeo probe into Hatch Act violations  MORE said Wednesday that his department “will work with Congress” in regards to the delivery of U.S. funds earmarked for the World Health Organization (WHO), as the Trump administration begins the formal process of withdrawing from the global health body.

The U.S. owes an estimated $203 million as part of its assessed contributions to the WHO for its two-year operating budget. The amount also includes funds that have yet to be paid for the 2019 operating year.

Assessed contributions are based on each member state’s wealth and population and typically supplemented by voluntary funds. The U.S. had provided up to $656 million in voluntary contributions for 2018 and 2019.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE in April announced a freeze in U.S. funding to the WHO amid his administration’s reassessment of the nation’s relationship with the group, which ultimately led to the decision to withdraw.

Pompeo, speaking with reporters at the State Department, responded to a question over whether the U.S. intends to follow through delivering financial pledges to the WHO before leaving it.

“We will work with Congress with respect to the appropriated funds, we'll get it right,” the secretary said.

Pompeo on Tuesday sent formal notification to Congress of Trump’s intent to leave the WHO, the first step in a process set to last into next year. He slammed the organization as having “historically been incompetent” and accused the body of being corrupt and politicized. 

Trump first announced his intent to leave the organization in April, criticizing it as being biased toward China, mishandling the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and failing to call out Beijing for the spread of the pandemic. 

A senior administration official said that the Trump administration has already paid $58 million of its required, assessed dues to the WHO and is reviewing options on how best to apply the remaining $64 million that is expected for delivery by a September funding deadline.

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Critics of the administration's decision to leave the WHO called the move bad policy — and baffling during a pandemic. They further warned the U.S. is forfeiting its power and leverage to enact change in the organization. 

House Democrats in their 2021 budget proposal have called for restoring full funding to the global health body. 

— Reid Wilson contributed to this report. Updated at 12:35 p.m.