The Tea Party Goes After the U.N. Budget

by Julian Ku

You saw this coming:

House Republicans introduced legislation today that seeks to force major changes at the United Nations, using as leverage the threat to withhold some of the U.S.’s 22 percent contribution to the world body’s operating budget.

The bill by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would demand that the UN let countries decide how much to pay and which programs they will support, rather than assessing payments based on a formula. It would end funding for Palestinian refugees, limit use of U.S. funds to only purposes outlined by Congress and put a hold on creating or expanding peacekeeping operations until management changes are made.

“We need a UN which will advance the noble goals for which it was founded,” Ros-Lehtinen of Florida said in a statement. “The current UN continues to be plagued by scandal, mismanagement and inaction, and its agenda is frequently hijacked by rogue regimes which protect each other while targeting free democracies like the U.S. and Israel.

I don’t have an actual copy of the proposed bill (anyone?) but it sounds like a variation on previous efforts to pressure the U.N. through budget measures. I don’t fully understand what it means by making funding “voluntary.”  Are they talking about renegotiating underlying international agreements?

I know this strategy has had some limited success in the past, but I am skeptical of whether it really has had much impact.  Still, I suppose nothing talks like money.  And I do think this will get the U.N.’s attention.

5 Responses

  1. Hi, there’s a link to the bill and a short summary thereof in Foreign Policy:

  2. Ros-Lehtinen has been in Congress far longer than the Tea Party has existed, so the heading of this post does not make much sense. I never voted for the Human Rights Council, the policies of UNRWA,  the Goldstone Report, or any General Assembly resolutions.
    But I realize that the devotees of “internationql law” who post on Opinio Juris can always dismiss my objections as coming from a yahoo. That is the enlightened position to take, right?

  3. Edward, do not worry. We are all yahoos to someone! 

    As to Ros-Lehtinen, some people act like they need another world war to really comprehend how bad it can get and the effect of the absence of an entity like the UN in all its imperfections.

  4. This is in the House of Representatives, backed by Republicans.
    I doubt it’ll go anywhere in the Senate, unless there’s some gigantic UN provocation.

  5. I am surprised that no one has done this before as the UN has become iligitimate. The number of treaties and resolutions NOT signed or approved by Security Council members iligitimizes the nation states UN and so we have an unelected, non responsive regulatory body with NATO and immense military might to make their tyranny a matter of their will not law…and I really had high hopes for international law but if we don’t agree on the TOS treaty (the foundations of international law arguably) then what are we saying when we parott the rule of law, awk, the rule of law.

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