Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden AFP

The Biden administration has circumvented a GOP blockage to further fund an international mission to help Haiti counter criminal organizations sowing chaos in the country, with the State Department proceeding with a $109 million package this week, The Miami Herald reported.

The decision has been described as the "nuclear option," as it overrides a Republican hold on the funds, which will be used prior to the forces' arrival in Port-au-Prince.

"By moving forward with the obligation of resources, the Secretary is also indicating to other countries the sincerity and seriousness of our commitment, in part to incentivize others to increase their own contributions to the mission," a senior State Department official told the outlet.

The force is set to be led by Kenyan police officers. Other countries, among them Jamaica, Chad, Bangladesh and Benin have also pledged to send some of their own as part of the mission. However, funding has been scarce.

The U.S. has pledged $300 million, about half of what the mission is estimated to cost. And while the State Department had no issues securing the first $200 million, it encountered the aforementioned block for the remaining part. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas and Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho had refused to lift the block.

But now, things are seemingly starting to move. In parallel to the additional funding, Haitian police leaders met with Kenya's general police inspector in Nairobi. "We are ready and committed to helping when needed," said the Kenyan official, Japhet Koome, during the meeting.

Forces were supposed to start arriving on May 23 to coincide with a visit by Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House. However, the decision was postponed on different occasions due to legal challenges in Kenya and doubts about the role they will play in Haiti. As things move forward, forces are now expected to land in the country in late June.

Kenya will also host Haitian police to provide training. Haiti currently has about 4,000 officers on duty, a figure that pales to the approximately 38,000 the Untied Nations say the country needs to achieve median levels of policing.

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