Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.) wrote in an op-ed published in the Daily Signal that the Senate last year granted Obama the authority to pay for a response to Zika, but his administration chose instead to allocate those funds toward the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund.
Congress last December provided the Obama administration with authority to pull money from bilateral economic assistance to foreign countries. They can use those funds to combat infectious diseases, if the administration believed there is an infectious disease emergency. In the middle of the Zika epidemic, the administration did use their authority to pull money from foreign aid and spend it, but they didn’t use it for Zika. … In March, President Obama gave the United Nations $500 million out of an account under bilateral economic assistance to fund the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund. Congress refused to allocate funding for the U.N. Climate Change Fund last year, so the president used this account designated for international infectious diseases to pay for his priority.