Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Day One: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health Organization

Biden
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden will order the U.S. to rejoin the World Health Organization, ceasing a withdrawal process the Trump administration had started.

Why it matters: Biden is expected to undo scores of Trump administration policies early in his term. President Trump notified the United Nations in July 2020 of his administration's intent to withdraw from the organization — despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci will deliver remarks to the WHO executive board as "head of delegation" later this week.
  • The WHO often spearheads international health issues like vaccine development and polio eradication. Many countries that lack critical health infrastructure depend on the WHO for resources.
  • Trump halted funding to the WHO in April. He argued the organization was guilty of "mismanaging and covering up" COVID-19 on behalf of China and claimed the U.S. "has a duty to insist on full accountability."
  • The U.S. was the WHO's largest contributor — providing more than 14% of its budget.

Biden tweeted in July: "Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On my first day as President, I will rejoin the [WHO] and restore our leadership on the world stage."

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