Bill to Reclaim Some UN Funding Fails to Pass in US House of Representatives

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The bill to reclaim some USD179 million the United States has overpaid to U.N. has failed to gather enough votes in the U.S. Congress. Photo by: Eskinder Debebe / UN

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have failed to gather enough votes to pass a reform proposal that seeks to reclaim some USD179 million the United States has overpaid to a U.N. fund.

The House voted on the proposal Feb. 9 under suspended House rules, a procedure used on noncontroversial bills to cut debate short. A two-thirds majority is needed to pass a reform proposal being voted under suspended House rules.

Republicans failed to secure the needed majority, with only 169 voting in favor of the bill and 259 voting against it, the Hill says. 

The reform proposal was introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Lehtinen and other supporters of the proposal said the U.S. has been overpaying the U.N. Tax Equalization Fund for several years. The overpaid sum totals USD179 million as of December 2009, according to the reform proposal.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) said the reform proposal would not save the United States any money and added that the United Nations needs the funds for security improvements at its headquarters in New York. Pulling out the money will put the U.S. in arrears because it is the host country’s obligation to improve security at the U.N. office, Berman, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.

House Republicans, intent on reducing government spending, have said they wanted to limit U.S. contributions to the United Nations.

>> House Republicans to Introduce Bill on Reduction of US Contributions to UN

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.