H.R. 2829

United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act

This bill makes U.S. contributions to the United Nations conditional upon the implementation of real reforms, including shifting the basis for most of the funding of the UN’s operating budget to voluntary contributions, instead of the current mandatory contributions. It will give U.S. taxpayers, through their elected representatives, the ability to determine how much we pay to the UN, and what we pay for. The bill uses America’s greatest leverage at the United Nations - our financial contributions - to make UN reform a reality.

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The United Nations has been plagued for years by scandal and mismanagement.  A few major examples include the “Oil for Food” scandal, during which UN and Iraqi government officials embezzled money intended to provide humanitarian support for the Iraqi people following the fall of Saddam Hussein, and the “Cash for Kim” scandal, where the UN Development Program’s operations in North Korea were exploited by Kim Jong Il’s regime.

The United Nations system is also routinely exploited by anti-American and anti-democratic regimes to target free democracies—such as the United States and Israel—while shielding fellow rogue regimes from scrutiny and punishment.  One major shortcoming in this area is the lack of any standards in determining membership in UN bodies.  For example, serial human rights abusers China, Cuba, Libya, Russia, and Saudi Arabia have all served on the Human Rights Council.  North Korea, a serial arms proliferator, and Cuba have each served as president of the UN Conference on Disarmament, an arms control body.

The UN has not shown the desire or the ability to change its ways.  As long as the U.S. and other member-states keep sending check after check, there is no incentive for the UN to change.  The bill gives the UN two years after the bill’s enactment date to phase in funding reform before the U.S. is required to withhold contributions.  However, after two years, should less than 80% of the UN regular budget be funded on a voluntary basis, then the U.S. shall, until the 80% threshold is met, withhold 50% of its non-voluntary regular budget contributions assessed by the UN.  This creates a sliding incentive scale, not an “all-or-nothing” sanction: the more the UN makes its regular budget voluntary, the less the U.S. would withhold.

STATUS: H.R. 2829 was approved by the Committee on November 3 by a recorded vote of 25-13.  Click here for details.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

More information on H.R. 2829 at the Library of Congress »