Washington, DC – Today, the House rejected H.R. 519, the United Nations Tax Equalization Refund Act today. The bill was introduced under the guise of cutting our national spending, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found it produced no cost savings for American taxpayers. Instead, the bill would have forced the US to go into arrears at the UN and jeopardize critical security upgrades to protect New York and the UN headquarters from a terrorist attack.
“I strongly opposed this misguided legislation because it would have put our diplomats at risk, undermined our standing at the United Nations by withholding dues, and provided no savings whatsoever to the American taxpayer,” said Congressman Howard Berman, the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Failing to pay our dues to the UN is a serious mistake that will significantly weaken our ability to produce the necessary reforms we want to see happen within the organization. Like I did today, I will fight against any efforts to limit our standing in the UN.”
Despite being introduced as part of the GOP’s “YouCut” program, the nonpartisan CBO found this bill would produce “No Savings” to Taxpayers. In their analysis, CBO reported the bill “would have no effect on the federal budget … no savings can be attributed to this bill.”
Instead of using this opportunity to actually identify budget cuts, Republicans attempted to use this bill to claw back critical funding we have already paid to the UN and prevent us from fulfilling our legal obligation to pay future dues. Congressman Howard Berman has long fought against going into arrears at the UN, arguing that it is counterproductive to achieving the reforms the US would like to see made in the organization.
A majority of the funding targeted in this failed bill is being used to make critical security upgrades to the UN Headquarters at the request of the New York Police Department. Raymond Kelly, Police Commissioner of the City of New York, wrote, “[there are] structural deficiencies that expose the United Nations Headquarters Campus to unacceptable levels of risk.” Had this legislation passed, these security upgrades would have been jeopardized.
As for the remaining dues targeted by the Republicans in this bill, the Obama Administration has made public their intentions to instruct the UN to use this money to offset upcoming dues that will go towards peacekeeping operation in places such as Darfur, Ivory Coast, and Haiti that support US security interest s abroad.