US Congress Questions $4M ‘Green Aid’ to China

Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama walk along the Colonnade of the White House. The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific today will put under scrutiny the U.S. Agency for International Development’s proposed funding assistance to China. Photo by: Pete Souza / White House

The irony of the United States providing aid to its biggest foreign creditor has once again raised an eyebrow among members of the Congress with the latest $4 million proposed “green aid” to China.

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific today will put under scrutiny the U.S. Agency for International Development’s proposed funding assistance to China, which focuses on the adoption of clean energy technologies.

While the amount is only but a fraction of USAID’s $21 billion budget, lawmakers are convinced the program should be “eliminated.”

“Why are we borrowing money from China to give back to China to encourage them to do the right thing?” Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-IL) said.

Manzullo, who also sits as chair of the subcommittee, believes the assistance would only put China, now the world’s second-largest economy, at a greater advantage over the United States, saying the program would “boost the competitiveness of Chinese manufacturers at the expense of U.S. manufacturers and jobs.”

But Deborah Brautigam, an expert on China and international development at American University, sees the budgetary constraints on aid in China as merely political.

“This issue has been unfortunately politicized by both (Republican and Democrat) parties,” she said, adding that aid to China is miniscule and clearly supports the United States interests.

Just last August, a bipartisan group of senators wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting for an end to U.S. aid in China. The letter, however, exempts aid the government has been extending to Tibetans and to the promotion of human rights and democracy in the country.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.