House GOP targets the U.N.
House Republicans are planning to introduce legislation Tuesday that will force major changes at the United Nations, an organization that the bill’s author has called a “stew of corruption, mismanagement and negligence.”
The bill, by Republican House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, would require the U.N. adopt a voluntary budget model, in which countries selectively choose which U.N. agencies to fund.
The bill is expected to be introduced Tuesday, and will also end funding for Palestinian refugees and limit the use of U.S. funds only to projects directly outlined by Congress.
An aide familiar with the legislation told Bloomberg News that shifting the U.N. budget to a voluntary system would encourage competition for funds and better performance from U.N. agencies.
Ros-Lehtinen’s leverage for change at the U.N. is the large amount of the international body’s budget that the American taxpayer has traditionally been responsible for. The United States pays 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular operations budget, and is assessed 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget. U.S. payments totaled $3.35 billion in 2010, of which $2.67 billion was spent on peacekeeping operations worldwide.
This Republican vision on foreign affairs stands in stark contrast to that of President Barack Obama’s, which has focused recently on multilateralism and international consensus.
But Republicans are not the only ones concerned about growing spending at the United Nations. Speaking on behalf of the United States, senior U.S. diplomat Joseph Torsella recently objected to a nearly 3 percent cost of living raise to the approximately 5,000 U.N. employees in New York City, saying that “a raise is inappropriate at this time of global fiscal austerity, when member state governments everywhere are implementing drastic austerity measures.”