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House Foreign Affairs Authorization Makes Important Statement in Contentious Budget Season, Says Better World Campaign

Measure Funds UN without Conditions

August 1, 2013

As the House Committee on Foreign Affairs today considered the FY 2014 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Peter Yeo, executive director of the Better World Campaign made the following statement:

"This bill structures American funding for the United Nations without conditions or withholding requirements. In so doing, the Committee has made an important statement in support of a strong U.S.-UN relationship.

"The Better World Campaign appreciates the efforts of Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel to put forward a State Department Authorization bill that could be an effective long-term guide to strengthening the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. We urge the full House to move forward with a bill that, like this one, emphasizes U.S.-UN engagement without conditions, but which also fully funds our international commitments, along the lines of the Senate Appropriations Committee's recent recommendations.

"By contrast, last week the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill slashing funding to the UN; eliminating funding for UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, and UN Women; and placing a host of conditions on UN funding. The Foreign Affairs Committee's measure, passed today, contains much higher levels for the UN regular budget and peacekeeping and greater flexibility for the State Department to pay assessed dues without withholding requirements.

"This bill is not a perfect model and should be amended to lift the arbitrary cap on peacekeeping contributions to prevent us from going into arrears. Nonetheless, the measure is one that distinctly acknowledges that supporting the United Nations saves lives and advances U.S. interests.

"Statements during the bill's markup today further attest to this measure's noteworthiness. Rep. Chris Smith laudably noted the 'importance' of the bill's funding for UN peacekeeping, specifically thanking Chairman Royce for including $300 million for the UN mission in Mali. Congressman Smith noted that peacekeeping deployments there will 'make a difference' in trying to ensure that 'people who have suffered so much in Mali don't continue to suffer.'

"Great nations pay their dues. And as a responsible nation, international cooperation is vital to our national security and foreign policy priorities. Whether it is housing and feeding displaced Syrian refugees, stabilizing countries terrorized by extremists, or tracking global pandemics, our partnership with the UN allows us to save money and share the burden, which takes on increased importance in an era of fiscal austerity."

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