EXCLUSIVE: Republicans on the House Oversight and Budget committees are questioning a reported plan by the Biden administration to send cash payments to Central America as part of a strategy to combat the root causes of the migrant crisis -- accusing the Biden administration of trying to buy its way out of a crisis.
Reps. James Comer and Jason Smith, the ranking members on the House Oversight and Budget committees, wrote to Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young expressing concern about a plan for a "conditional cash transfer program" to address the "root causes" in Central America leading to the border crisis.
"In the midst of a border crisis propelled by the Biden administration reversing successful deterrent policies, it is worrisome that the administration’s solution isn’t to reinstate those policies or replace them with workable solutions, but instead to funnel more money to pay countries to dissuade their citizens to break U.S. laws, particularly countries with corruption concerns," the letter, obtained by Fox News, says.
Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s outgoing southern border coordinator, told Reuters about the proposal last month and said it would be targeted at Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- three Northern Triangle countries that are the source of much of the migration coming to the border.
"We're looking at all of the productive options to address both the economic reasons people may be migrating, as well as the protection and security reasons," Jacobson said.
Jacobson did not say who would receive the cash or how it would work, but she promised that the government "isn't going to be handing out money or checks to people."
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) told Reuters it is already using cash transfers in Central America "to help people meet their basic needs" after recent hurricanes and is considering expanding such measures.