Thursday, June 09, 2005

U.N. Dues

Guardian reported Ignoring the Bush administration's pleas, a GOP-controlled House committee approved a bill Wednesday that would withhold one-half of U.S. dues to the United Nations unless it made specific changes. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., was approved 25-22. An alternative from Democrats on the House International Relations Committee was rejected 24-23. The big difference between the two bills was whether dues cuts should be mandatory, as recommended by Hyde, or left to the discretion of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The administration wants to retain the flexibility of deciding whether U.S. dues should be held back. "You can't have reform unless you withhold dues," Hyde said. The committee chairman expressed doubt that Rice would order cuts in U.S. payments to the world body.

Why don't we compromise? If the UN does not adopt the specific reform measures let the 50% of the dues be withheld automatically, and let Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decide whether to withhold the other 50%?
Under the Democratic version, introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos of California, Rice would have the authority to withhold up to 50 percent of U.S. dues. The amount would depend on her assessment of U.N. reform over the next two years. Skepticism in Congress, especially among Republicans, abounds about the international organization. Some lawmakers question whether the United Nations promotes U.S. interests. Recent U.N. scandals have included the apparent mismanagement and possible corruption involving the $64 billion oil-for-food program for Iraq. At the House hearing, committee members took turns decrying the U.N.'s performance on a variety of fronts, including accusations of the sexual abuse of women by U.N. peacekeepers deployed in poor countries. The United Nations itself has cited the need for overhauls. Mark Malloch Brown, a top aide to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told members of Congress two weeks ago that the United Nations was moving ``full-steam'' on carrying out reform.

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