Washington has reportedly frozen the transfer of multi millions in aid which was bound for West Bank and Gaza.
In its waning hours, the Obama administration defied Republican opposition and quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
However, a senior Palestinian source told the Times of Israel that the PA leadership was notified by US officials that it should not expect the payout any time soon.
According to the source, the respective notice was received by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday, the same day the US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said it would put the payment under additional scrutiny and see if any adjustments are needed to be taken that would correspond the incumbent US President’s take on the issue.
Initially, the funds were approved by Congress in the fiscal years 2015 and 2016, however, at least two Republican lawmakers put a hold on the transfer, voicing concerns that the money could fall into the wrong hands, such as “the families of Palestinian prisoners and suicide bombers,” according to Rep. Ed Royce (R-California).
Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), another GOP lawmaker, who placed a hold on the measure, labeled the Obama’s last-minute decision to discount Republicans’ opposition and go ahead with the release of funds “inappropriate.”
“I am deeply disappointed that President Obama defied congressional oversight and released $221 million to the Palestinian territories,” Ganger said in a statement on Tuesday, pointing out that the humanitarian programs to which the money is destined “were still under review by Congress.”
While Obama administration did not formally break any law with its decision to circumvent GOP’s resistance, it went against a long-standing tradition of respecting the holds on the funds, imposed by Congress. In the past, however, Obama used his power to greenlight a $192 million aid transaction in 2012, citing its importance to “security interests of the United States,” although it had been frozen by Congress.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly notified lawmakers of the decision mere hours before Trump’s inauguration.
The President Is “Coming Out As A Winner On Many Issues…” – The Atlantic
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl: “Incredible Pace Of Activity In The Trump White House On Week One…” Karl Tweet: “Incredible pace of activity in the Trump White House on week one – when have we seen a public WH sked packed as yesterday’s & today’s?” (Twitter.com, 1/24/17)
Fox News’ Sean Hannity: “I Don’t Think I’ve Ever Seen So Much Happen In Such A Short Period Of Time.” (Fox News’ “Hannity,” 1/24/17)
Chicago Tribune Editorial Board: “Trump Could Have Chosen Any Topic To Get His Presidency Rolling. He Picked Jobs. Good.” (Editorial, “What Trump Got Right On Day 1: The Jobs Agenda,” Chicago Tribune, 1/23/17)
- Chicago Tribune Headline: “What Trump Got Right On Day 1: The Jobs Agenda” (Chicago Tribune, 1/23/17)
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “President Trump Is Making Short Work Of Campaign Promises…” “President Trump is making short work of campaign promises, and on Tuesday he signed executive orders reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.” (Editorial, “No More Keystone Capers,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/24/17)
USA Today Editorial Board: Trump “Came Down On The Right Side Of The Debate… By Advancing Construction Of The Keystone XL And Dakota Access Pipelines.” “President Trump, following through on a campaign promise, came down on the right side of the debate Tuesday by advancing construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, both of which had been blocked by the Obama administration.” (Editorial, “Trump Revives Pipeline Projects,” USA Today, 1/24/17)
The Atlantic: Trump’s “Coming Out As A Winner On Many Issues.” “But what if the Trump presidency is actually off to a surprisingly effective start? … The result, paradoxically, is that he’s coming out as a winner on many issues.” (David A. Graham, “Is Trump’s Presidency Off To A Successful Start?,” The Atlantic, 1/24/17)
Detroit News Headline: “Mich. Could Benefit In Trump Infrastructure Order” (Detroit News, 1/25/17)
Rasmussen Reports: “57% Of Likely U.S. Voters Approve Of President Trump’s Job Performance…” “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance.” (“Daily Presidential Tracking Poll,” Rasmussen Reports, 1/24/17)
Reuters: “A Slew Of Donald Trump’s Picks Won Approval By The Senate Committees Overseeing Their Official Nominations…” “A slew of Donald Trump’s picks won approval by the Senate committees overseeing their official nominations, suggesting that they will face little resistance to approval by the full Senate.” (“US Senate Panels Approve Carson, Ross, Chao, Haley,” Reuters, 1/24/17)
Washington Examiner: “A Majority Of Americans Who Listened To President Trump’s Inaugural Address Gave The 16-Minute Speech A Positive Review…” “A majority of Americans who listened to President Trump’s inaugural address gave the 16-minute speech a positive review, according to a new poll by Gallup.” (Gabby Morrongiello, “Poll: Trump’s Inaugural Speech Gets A Thumbs Up,” Washington Examiner, 1/23/17)
The Daily Signal On Pipeline Executive Orders: “A Win For The Economy And The Environment.” “In a win for the economy and the environment, President Donald Trump signed executive orders backing the construction of two unnecessarily controversial energy infrastructure projects: the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline.” (Nicolas Loris, “Trump’s Pipeline Approvals Are A Win For The Economy And Environment,” The Daily Signal, 1/25/17)
Sen. Ted Cruz: “I Could Not Be More Encouraged… The Cabinet Appointments Have Been Phenomenal.” HANNITY: “How do you feel about the agenda and the first few days so far?” CRUZ: “I could not be more encouraged. We are five days into it, but the cabinet appointments have been phenomenal.” (Fox News’ “Hannity,” 1/24/17)
“A New POLITICO/Morning Consult Poll Shows That The New President’s Message Is Resonating With Voters…” “A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that the new president’s message is resonating with voters, refuting the idea that Trump bungled his first speech as commander in chief.” (Jake Sherman, “Poll: Majority Of American Approve Of Trump’s ‘America First’ Address,” Politico, 1/25/17)
- “Fifty-One Percent Of Voters Described The Speech As ‘Optimistic’…” “Fifty-one percent of voters described the speech as ‘optimistic,’ 46 percent of respondents say the speech was ‘presidential,’ and 44 percent say it was ‘inspiring,’ laying bare an alternative narrative that could have driven this week’s news cycle if the president had not started a multi-day debate about the crowd size on the National Mall.” (Jake Sherman, “Poll: Majority Of American Approve Of Trump’s ‘America First’ Address,” Politico, 1/25/17)
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