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June 09, 2005
The U.N.

Congress Moves to Cut U.N. Funding

In a move virtually certain to add to strains between the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, the International Relations Committee (HIRC) of the House of Representatives Wednesday approved a sweeping bill that, if passed into law, will require Washington to withhold up to half of assessed U.S. contributions to the world body unless it implements specific reforms.

How timely.

Among other ”reforms,” The United Nations Reform Act of 2005, which is expected to be approved on the House floor next week, would also require the U.N. to fund most of its programs through voluntary contributions, rather than mandatory dues from its 191 member-states, and enable Washington to pick and choose those programs it wished to fund.

How stupid.

It would also require the U.N. to set up a number of new oversight boards to investigate the U.N. bureaucracy and specific agencies, as well as adopt new rules that would bar alleged human rights violators from serving the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

That eliminates us.

And it would withhold U.S. support for new or expanded U.N. peacekeeping operations until specific reforms are implemented.

How very...American.

”This Act will usher in reforms that both Republican and Democratic administrations alike have long called for, including a more focused and accountable budget, one that should reflect the true priorities of the organization, shorn of duplicate, ineffective and outdated programs,” he noted.

How counterproductive.

The bill comes amid growing hostility, particularly among Republican lawmakers, toward the U.N. dating back to the Security Council's refusal to back the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's denunciation of that war as ”illegal” under the U.N. Charter during last year's U.S. presidential campaign also infuriated many Republicans.

How predictable.

Kraus, however, warned that the unilateral and threatening way Hyde's proposals are being presented -- and the resentment that it is likely to cause -- is likely to undercut Annan's own reform efforts.

How annoying.

Under the bill, the U.S. must withhold funds from treaty-monitoring bodies in which the U.S. is not a signatory to the underlying treaty or protocol.

How shortsighted.

How long until we can rid ourselves of these goons in Washington?

Posted by AnneZook at 01:42 PM


Well, if we take the midterm elections, we could have impeachment hearings.... 18 months, all together, if things go well.

That last one, withholding support for programs to which we are not signatories, is a ICJ thing, though I'm sure there's some "Rights of the Child" protocol defensiveness there, too.

There's something really sad, ironic, offensive, about having to use funding pressure to force reform: how would the IRS act if I told them that my payment of taxes was contingent on administrative reform and approval of the Kyoto accords?

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at June 9, 2005 04:17 PM

I think a lot of my frustration with the current Administration is that I agree with many of their goals (or at least their stated goals), but I disagree so completely with their tactics.

Posted by: Anne at June 11, 2005 10:35 AM