Open Thread: Republicans Unveiling Bill to Bring Major Changes to the UN

House Republicans are introducing a bill today with hopes to force major changes on the United Nations. The bill would require the UN to allow member countries to fund the UN agencies of their choosing rather than according to a formula, end funding for Palestinian refugees, limit U.S. funding to be used only for purposes specifically outlined by Congress, and end contributions to peacekeeping programs until changes in management take place.

With the United States contributing 22% of the UN's operating budget, the GOP believes there is enough leverage to force these changes in the UN. Led by the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ilena Ros-Lehtinen, the changes are designed to end corruption and inefficiency in the global organization. How involved do you think the U.S. should be in the UN? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

As explained in Bloomberg,

The U.S. pays 22 percent of the UN’s regular operations budget and is assessed 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget. The U.S. payments totaled $3.35 billion in 2010, of which $2.67 billion was dedicated to the 16 peacekeeping operations worldwide, from South Sudan to Haiti. [...]

Ros-Lehtinen’s aim in shifting the UN budget to a voluntary system is to encourage competition for funds and therefore elicit more effective performance from UN agencies, said a House aide familiar with the legislation. He wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.

The bill’s timing runs counter to the emergence of the administration’s “Obama Doctrine” of working with others to address international issues, particularly those that don’t pose an immediate security threat to the U.S., said Jeffrey Laurenti, a UN analyst at the Century Foundation, a New York-based economic, political and social research foundation.

The bill comes at a time when President Obama is increasingly building his foreign policy with multilateral institutions like the UN and NATO, which he uses to justify the U.S. involvement in indirect threats like Libya. For this reason, it is likely the bill will face opposition from the Senate. What do you think of the new legislation? Should the U.S. decrease its involvement in the UN?

NB Staff
NB Staff