President Obama, during his final overseas trip as president, exhorted “all nations” to share “the benefits of the global economy” with more people and to address what he described as the negative impacts and inequalities caused by capitalism.
A review of recently launched or expanded foreign aid projects shows there is no stopping Obama in foisting that burden upon U.S. taxpayers.
This persistent trend is evidenced by his administration’s continued global deployment of million-dollar health workers, the provision of health benefits to Pakistanis after their national government halted such assistance and the additional financing of “climate action” programs internationally, among other endeavors.
It cost taxpayers millions to enable Obama to deliver his message at the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in Lima, Peru, where the president, other government VIPs and their security detail rented the equivalent of thousands of hotel rooms plus an unspecified number of vehicles.
According to Justification for Other than Full and Open Competition documents that WND located via routine database research, the administration from Nov. 6-23 spent nearly $1.3 million for 1,585 “lodging rooms, offices and conference-room nights” at the Lima Marriott, $502,521 for 857 lodging-room nights at the Courtyard Lima Miraflores, $350,919 for 584 lodging-room nights at the Lima Hilton and an additional $400,000 to rent various “vehicles, sedans, vans, SUVs and buses.”
Among recent foreign-aid endeavors, a nearly quarter-billion-dollar temporary health-worker program – an initiative that already costs about $1 million per employee – is about to cost U.S. taxpayers even more.
As WND reported in 2014, the federal government’s portfolio of international health-care initiatives had grown so enormous that the administration at the time decided to infuse an additional quarter-billion dollars to keep the global bureaucracy going.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, this past week extended for an additional year a contract for the Global Health Services Initiative II, or GSHI II.
The 12-month extension, which will increase the GHSI-II contract by $48,735,240, escalates the program’s total estimated cost from $229,052,195 to $277,787,435.
USAID justified the contract-extension because the program’s follow-on initiative, GHSI III, is being contested in federal court by competing contractors, according to a JOFOC document dated Nov. 8 and released Nov. 22.
“This contract is needed to avoid impairment of foreign assistance objectives in the global health area and provide comprehensive support services to the USAID offices during the protest period and transition to the new contract,” the JOFOC document says.
“While USAID waits for the Court of Federal Claim’s decision on the GHSI-III contract, extending GHSI-II will ensure stakeholder Bureaus, offices, and Missions can continue to maintain the technical expertise necessary to perform essential core functions in support of established Bureau for Global Health initiatives and program areas.”
GSHI II employs just 254 workers in 20 USAID Washington, D.C., offices and seven foreign missions.
The U.S. Department of State separately had planned to fund the modernization of border-crossing facilities on Mexico’s side of the border, where the U.S. intended to assist in the construction of housing for additional non-intrusive inspection equipment.
The State Department, however, within two weeks of WND’s recent report on the Mexico security project, canceled it in its entirety without explanation.
In other foreign assistance business, USAID will spend $85-90 million to help the Ukrainian government improve its “energy legal and regulatory environment.”
Other goals of USAID/Ukraine Energy Security Program through Competitive Energy Markets include a 20 percent increase in renewable energy. The endeavor also aims to “increase cross-border electricity and gas networks to at least 15 percent of Ukrainian market volume.”
The administration also is stepping in to fill gaps left by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s 18th constitutional amendment, which in 2010 “abolished federal social service agencies” and placed that responsibility on Pakistan’s four provincial governments.
Consequently, USAID awarded a $14.9 million contract to John Snow Inc. to “increase maternal and child health services” in Pakistan.
The agency contractor will carry out those tasks in seven districts of Pakistan’s Malakand Division, which is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. USAID acknowledged that the contractor may be unable to carry out the project in all the FATA agencies due to continuing military activity there.
Additionally, an LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex) program assistant is being sought by USAID to provide global program and budgetary advice. The selected candidate will support activities “related to LGBTI persons and their human rights and development.” The position, which pays $64,650 to $84,044 annually, will be based in Washington, D.C., but includes field assignments.
USAID also awarded a $24.9 million contract to AECOM International to assist various Pacific island countries in achieving their “climate change adaptation goals” through the development and implementation of related “climate action” policies and plans. The Climate Ready initiatives will focus on Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Palau.
USAID additionally awarded a sole-source contract extension to Jeffrey Noel Vanness to serve as Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Field Adviser for up to two additional years. The potential $338,000 contract will enable Vanness, who currently works with the Elections and Political Transitions Division, to continue providing expertise in responding to “ever-increasing needs to deploy fast and flexible assistance to countries in political transition.”