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Rubio Introduces United Nations Reform Bill

Jul 17, 2013 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, today introduced legislation to implement comprehensive and long-overdue reforms at the United Nations (UN) to ensure greater transparency and accountability. Rubio issued the following statement with the introduction of the legislation:

“The U.S. should not continue funding the lion’s share of the UN’s budget without, at a minimum, several key reforms to ensure greater accountability and transparency. Nearly 70 years ago, the United Nations was founded to maintain the peace after the end of World War II. While at some times throughout its history the UN has played an effective role in global affairs, today it is plagued by ineffective leadership, excessive bureaucracy, ethical abuses, misspending and transparency problems.

“With the many global challenges we face in the 21st century – including rogue regimes, failed states, terrorism, and blatant violations of human rights – the UN has to get with the times and change. By bringing greater accountability and budget transparency, the U.S. will be able to ensure that American taxpayer dollars going to the UN are actually advancing our national interest.”

The United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2013 would implement the following reforms:

  • Makes it U.S. policy to shift funding for the UN regular budget to voluntary contributions and includes a mandate to pursue zero nominal growth of the UN regular budget, maintaining the 22 percent cap on U.S. contributions to the regular budget and reinstating a 27 percent cap on U.S. contributions to peacekeeping operations.
  • Authorizes the creation of an Inspector General (IG) to investigate and audit the use of U.S. contributions to the UN. It withholds U.S. contributions to any UN entity that fails to cooperate with IG investigations and adopt an independent internal audit organization.
  • Withholds U.S. contributions to any UN entity that grants full membership to the Palestinian Authority in the absence of a negotiated peace settlement with Israel.
  • Withholds a proportional amount of U.S. contributions to the UN system that would have been expended on activities related to the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of deliberately attacking Palestinian civilians during Operation Cast Lead. It also withholds U.S. contributions to any UN activities related to the Durban Process that has veered from its original intent of fighting racism to become a forum for anti-Semitism. The bill would also deny U.S. funding to any UN entity that recognizes NGOs that condone anti-Semitism.
  • Prohibits U.S. participation on the Council in its present form, and withholds a proportional percent of U.S. contributions to the UN regular budget that would go to the Council until the Secretary of State certifies that the Council has adopted strong human rights standards. 
  • Conditions U.S. funding to the UN agency which aids Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) on a State Department report that UNRWA has adopted and is implementing several counterterrorism reforms, including the adoption of updated counterrorism list to vet their personnel. 
  • Conditions U.S. contributions on the adoption of specific reforms at the organization, including measures to strengthen compliance oversight and seeks to ensure that U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism do not receive civilian nuclear assistance.
  • Calls for implementation of pending reforms in the areas of planning, management, conduct and accountability in UN peacekeeping, and mandates the withholding of U.S. support for new or expanded peacekeeping missions until the most critical are instituted (subject to a Presidential waiver based on vital U.S. national security interests or avoidance of genocide).
  • Updates the annual U.S. participation in the UN report by including assessments of progress towards UN adoption of a regular budget that rely on voluntary contributions, UN adoption of transparent personnel policies and an analysis that compares countries’ voting patterns with amounts of U.S. foreign aid amounts received. Includes an annual OMB report on all U.S. contributions to the UN.