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How the U.S. Funds the UN

Each year, Congress must pass legislation to fund the activities and obligations of the U.S. government.

The President's Budget Request

More than a year before the beginning of the U.S. fiscal year on October 1, federal agencies and the Office of Management and Budget develop a spending plan that reflects both the broad priorities of the President and details his recommendations for agencies' budgets. By the February before the start of the fiscal year, the President submits that budget to Congress.

The State Department's budget includes the U.S.-assessed contribution to the UN's regular budget -- along with 43 other UN-system, regional, and non-UN organizations -- in its Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) account. U.S. assessed contributions to the UN's peacekeeping operations are in the State Department's Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account.

The Budget Resolution

Once Congress receives the President's budget, the House and Senate Budget Committees use it to develop their own broad outline to guide Congress' spending decisions. The committees package their recommendations into a Concurrent Budget Resolution. Congressional budget rules require that both houses pass the Concurrent Budget Resolution by mid April, but they often consider it much later, and sometimes not at all.

The Concurrent Budget Resolution lays out the budget in broad categories of spending. It establishes a funding level for Function 150, International Affairs, and assumes UN funding will come from that pot, but does not specify a dollar amount for the UN.


The House and Senate Appropriations Committees write the legislation that specifies how much money federal agencies may spend. Starting in early spring, the 12 appropriations subcommittees in each house hold hearings and draft bills. The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs sets the funding level for the State Department and the UN.

Ideally, the House and the Senate take up each appropriations bill, pass it, work out the differences between the two houses in a conference committee, then vote again on the final compromise version -- all before the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1. But Congress frequently resorts to temporary, stop-gap spending measures as the appropriations process drags on past the fiscal year deadline, and individual bills are sometimes packaged into omnibus spending measures to save time.

The Law

When the President signs an appropriations bill passed in both the House and the Senate, that bill becomes law.

Current and Proposed U.S. Funding for the UN

In recent years, after a lengthy period of accumulating arrears in its UN dues, the U.S. returned to good financial standing at the world body by fully funding its regular and peacekeeping budget assessments and paying off past debts. Unfortunately, the U.S. took a significant step back in Fiscal Year 2014: the omnibus FY'14 appropriations legislation approved this January underfunded our UN peacekeeping dues by more than $350 million and had no funding for the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA). This could have serious implications for MINUSMA—which is currently working to stabilize territory once held by several radical Islamist groups—as well as numerous other peacekeeping missions that promote critical U.S. interests. As a result, BWC has been working to encourage Congress and the Administration to address the arrears created by this funding shortfall.

On March 4, 2014, the Obama Administration released its International Affairs budget request for FY'15. We are pleased that the Administration’s request for peacekeeping represents a significant increase over the FY'14 omnibus and helps reduce the amount the U.S. is in arrears to the UN. However, this request does not address all current peacekeeping-related funding shortfalls. As a result, BWC is requesting $2.625 billion for the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account in FY'15. This amount will help us ensure that peacekeeping missions that are squarely in our national interest and that the U.S. voted to support in the Security Council receive the resources necessary to carry out their mandates. We also support the Administration’s request for a "Peacekeeping Response Mechanism" to fund unanticipated new peacekeeping needs, which could be used to support a possible future UN mission in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Below is a chart detailing funding levels for CIO and CIPA in FY 2013-2015.


FY'13 Actual

FY'14 Estimate

FY'15 President's Request

FY'15 BWC Request


$1.913 billion

$1.765 billion*

$2.518 billion

$2.625 billion


$1.472 billion

$1.34 billion

$1.517 billion

$1.517 billion

CIO - UN Regular Budget

$568 million

$618 million

$620 million

 $620 million


$490.2 million

$435.6 million*

$336.15 million

 $501.65 million**

Peacekeeping Response Mechanism (OCO)



$150 million

 $150 - $275 million


*The FY'14 omnibus appropriations bill provided $194 million in PKO to pay U.S. assessments for the UN Office for AMISOM.

**This amount includes $165.5 million to pay U.S. assessments for UNSOA. The Administration included UNSOA funding under its CIPA request.