Feds Unsure How Much Taxpayer Money Goes to China
Between 2017 through 2021, U.S. taxpayers paid at least $48 million to research institutions, companies, and other recipients in China.
But, according to a report that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published Wednesday, the full extent of this funding remains unclear. The data tracking the funding “is incomplete and sometimes inaccurate.”
“Of this amount, agencies obligated about $22.8 million through assistance awards and about $25.2 million through contracts,” the GAO report said.
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“For example, the Department of Health and Human Services obligated funding through assistance awards to study infectious diseases, and the Department of State obligated funding through contracts to purchase goods and services for U.S. government operations in China.”
China, of course, is a major trading partner and strategic rival of the United States. The GAO said different agencies of the federal government sometimes fund certain recipients in foreign countries to advance U.S. interests.
Among only some of the examples of funding that the GAO report cited:
• The Department of Health and Human Services funded a Chinese University to study diseases transmitted by insects, such as malaria.
• The State Department paid a company in China to obtain internet services at the U.S embassy and consulates throughout mainland China.
• The State Department also funded a program “that aimed to expand perspectives on gender equality and women’s empowerment through an exhibition of works by women cartoonists of The New Yorker magazine.”
• The Department of Agriculture funded a program to study invasive species and the cause and effect of disease in trees.
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“The Export-Import Bank (EXIM) [of the United States] also provides financing such as direct loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance to Chinese or other entities, to facilitate U.S. exports to China,” GAO officials said in a letter this week to U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), who serves on the Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance.
“For example, EXIM may provide U.S. exporters with insurance against non-payment.”
Hagerty asked the GAO to review U.S. funding and financing of entities located in China.
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