House GOP targets the U.N.

House GOP
targets the U.N.

By: Tim Mak
August 30, 2011 06:08
AM EDT
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 UN adopt a voluntary
budget model, in which countries selectively choose which UN agencies to
fund.

The bill is expected to be introduced on 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 UN budget to a voluntary system would
encourage competition for funds and better performance from UN 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 UN’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 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 UN employees in New York City, saying that “a raise is
inappropriate this time of global fiscal austerity, when member state
governments everywhere are implementing drastic austerity
measures.”

© 2011 POLITICO LLC

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