A 2012 authorization bill sent by the House Foreign Affairs Committee for consideration of the full House of Representatives includes amendments that some members of the U.S. development community say could undermine the country’s national security interests and position in the international community.
Among the amendments approved by the committee is a proposal by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) to reduce by 25 percent the U.S.’s contribution to the regular budget of the United Nations, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition says. This amendment, according to the head of advocacy group Better World Campaign, would undermine U.S. national security and put the country “back into debt at the U.N.”
“Failing to meet our UN obligations will diminish our ability to leverage the UN in support of vital U.S. national security objectives. Instead of working constructively with other nations, the bill will force the U.S. to go it alone.” Peter Yeo, executive director of the Better World Campaign, said in a statement mailed to Devex. “This bill is also inconsistent with what Americans want. Bipartisan polling shows that 85% of American voters believe that the United States must be actively engaged at the U.N.”
Aside from the U.N. funding amendment, HFAC also approved an amendment urging the president and U.S. development agencies to develop clear and common guidelines to improve the monitoring and evaluation of U.S. foreign aid programs and another that calls for the establishment of a searchable website of U.S. aid financial and performance data.
These amendments, also introduced by Poe, were lauded by the USGLC, saying they are “significant steps toward strengthening U.S. development efforts.”
HFAC passed the 2012 spending authorization bill, H.R. 2583, for the consideration of the full House floor after a heated markup session on Wednesday and Thursday. The House has yet to set a schedule for when it would consider the bill, which cuts some $6.4 billion from the Obama administration’s $51 billion request for State and foreign operations.
Before this reform proposal can be sent for signature into law by the president, it requires approval of the full House and needs to be reconciled with the authorization bill approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is unlikely to pass any bill seeking steep funding cuts.
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