Republican-Controlled Congressional Committee Targets United Nations

January 24, 2011 07:50

Committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is holding a hearing Tuesday entitled “The United Nations: Urgent Problems that Need Congressional Action,” featuring some the U.N.’s most outspoken critics.

By Patrick Goodenough at


Two years after they promoted and hailed the incoming Obama administration’s steps to revitalize the U.S. relationship with the United Nations, engagement advocates are on the defensive this week as the new Republican majority in the House Foreign Affairs Committee turns a spotlight on the world body.

Funding of the U.N. is expected to feature prominently at the hearing. Ros-Lehtinen said late last year she wanted to use “U.S. contributions to international organizations as leverage to press for real reform of those organizations.”

Her earlier U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act sought to make U.S. funding conditional on the implementation of reforms throughout the U.N. system. Provisions included the withholding of funding allocated to the HRC.

The U.S. provides 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular operating budget, which finances the Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and several other bodies, as well as more than 25 percent of the peacekeeping budget. Member states’ contributions are assessed according to their relative “capacity to pay,” calculated from national economic output.


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