US budget fights threaten Haiti security mission

Originally published in The Hill by Nick Robertson

Funding for a Kenyan-led multinational police force in Haiti could be an unintended victim of partisan budget fights on Capitol Hill, as Republicans resist Biden administration demands for an additional $40 million for a deployment to the Caribbean nation overrun by gang violence.

Port-au-Prince has devolved into chaos, with Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigning this week and the U.S. government urging Americans to leave the country.

The U.S. has already committed $300 million to the Kenyan-led security force. The Biden administration has requested that Congress release an additional $50 million for the effort, but just $10 million of the request was passed in December.

Now, Democrats are urging the House and Senate foreign relations committees to follow through with the remaining funds, while the top Republicans on the panels question the spending and its transparency.

“The human suffering and devolving crisis in Haiti is tragic. Yet, after years of discussions, repeated requests for information, and providing partial funding to help them plan, the administration only this afternoon sent us a rough plan to address this crisis,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a joint statement Tuesday

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