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Trump suspends US foreign aid pending review

President Donald J. Trump, seated next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, participates in the G20 Leaders Special Event on the Digital Economy at the G20 Japan Summit Friday, June 28, 2019, in Osaka, Japan. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. President Donald Trump has frozen foreign-aid funding until the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reviews any money that hasn’t been spent, officials say.

The freeze impacts 10 bank accounts overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department, a senior administration official told RFE/RL.

The OMB made the request to USAID and the State Department on August 3 and has yet to receive information about how much is currently in those accounts and how they plan to use the money.

The fiscal year ends on September 30.

The funding amounts in question are between $2 billion and $4 billion, a USAID official told CNN.

The OMB will then make a decision about how to move forward with the funds after it studies the accounts.

Funding for a Pakistani space initiative and Uzbek education program are two of the projects funded by the 10 accounts.

Critics fear the move could lead to sharp cuts for programs on global health, peacekeeping, narcotics control, and development assistance despite the money having been approved by Congress.

The OMB may propose that Congress cancel appropriating the remaining funds based on how the two agencies respond.

The Trump administration has made repeated efforts to reduce the amount of money Washington spends on foreign aid.

In April, the administration unsuccessfully tried to cut the budget on foreign aid and diplomacy by 23 percent.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, called the proposal “insane.”

The same USAID official said that OMB tried to rescind foreign aid money last year, but Congress rejected the move.