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Defund Davos Act would ban federal money for World Economic Forum, famous for its annual…

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2022-09-15
https://govtrackinsider.com/defund-davos-act-would-ban-federal-money-for-world-economic-forum-famous-for-its-annual-1a0265deb74b

Defund Davos Act would ban federal money for World Economic Forum, famous for its annual Switzerland gathering of political and economic elites

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA10)

Should there be no USD for WEF?

Context

The World Economic Forum is a nonprofit organization aiming to solve global society’s problems: environmental, economic, agricultural, technological, educational. Their website lists 274 active projects, including delivering vaccines via drones in India, and aiming to plant 1 trillion trees worldwide.

Based in Switzerland, it’s an independent and nongovernmental organization. Although the Forum is itself nongovernmental, various national governments do contribute money towards it — including the U.S. Last year, host country Switzerland attracted global headlines when they announced they would reduce their annual contribution by -30 percent.

The organization is most famous for its annual meeting in the Swiss luxury resort town Davos, which routinely attracts the planet’s top political officials, business leaders, media giants, and thought leaders including Nobel Prize laureates for speeches and panel discussions.

This year’s attendees included Bill Gates, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Matthew Murray, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Politico editor-in-chief Matthew Kaminski.

This year’s annual meeting was also notable for being the first since 1991 without a Russian delegation, symbolizing the country’s newfound exclusion and isolation on the world stage in the wake of their February invasion of Ukraine.

The organization — and specifically, the annual meeting — has attracted criticism from the American right for its (often) left-leaning policies and economic agendas. In particular, many Davos speakers through the years have advocated increased government control of the economic system or the environment. When then-President Donald Trump spoke at Davos in 2018, he was booed.

What the bill does

The Defund Davos Act would ban federal funds from being used towards the World Economic Forum.

It was introduced in the House on August 26 as H. R. 8748, by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA10).

What supporters say

Supporters argue that the World Economic Forum, and particularly its annual meeting, runs contrary to American values of freedom and liberty.

“Our national debt exceeds $30 trillion and there are cascading world crises,” wrote Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of Open the Books, an organization which publicizes government expenditure. “Obviously, the U.S. should not subsidize an organization whose member companies are already fabulously wealthy — and whose largest annual conference functions as a magnet for the super-rich.”

World Economic Forum Founder Klaus “Schwab advocated seizing the pandemic to ‘reset and reshape the world,’ as climate change, inequality and poverty gained greater urgency during the crisis,” Andrzejewski continued. “If you guessed that would involve bigger governments, more taxes and spending, and more surveillance of citizens, you’d be correct.”

“It sure doesn’t make it sound like America’s strategic or financial interests are being prioritized,” Andrzejewski concluded. “America must stop subsidizing the hosts of this lavish globalist soiree. After all, this organization wants to press the reset button on our way of life.”

What opponents say

Opponents counter that the U.S. government contributes funding to meaningful, consequential, and impactful projects in partnership with the World Economic Forum. They counter that these projects which should be considered nonpartisan, even if many of the speakers typically associated with the forum’s annual meeting are indeed left-leaning.

“A key component of the Forum’s work on major global issues is catalyzing and facilitating public-private partnerships,” Managing Director for Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative Lisa Dreier wrote. “These partnerships are led by diverse coalitions of organizations including governments, companies, civil society, and international organizations. Working together, these organizations develop innovative new approaches to solving problems and advancing progress.”

“Funding agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) can play a vital role in providing seed funding to initiate these partnerships and enabling them to have large-scale impact,” Dreier continued. “As part of its work to develop innovative approaches that maximize the impact of U.S. taxpayer dollars, USAID supports public-private partnerships that mobilize large-scale investment and impact on specific issues.”

Dreier cited two such public-private partnerships in particular: Grow Africa to support the continent’s agriculture, and Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation to reduce barriers for international trade.

Odds of passage

The bill has attracted two cosponsors, both Republicans. It awaits a potential vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Odds of passage are low in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

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This article was written by GovTrack Insider staff writer Jesse Rifkin.

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