Ever since a previous provision expired in 2011 requiring that the Office of Management and Budget report all expenditures and contributions made to the United Nations, Americans have been left pretty much in the dark. A group of GOP senators have proposed a bill to change all that.
The cadre of lawmakers, led by Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are introducing a bill that would require all agencies — not just the State Department — to report U.N. contributions, including non-monetary ones.
“It’s disturbing that no one, including our ambassador to the United Nations, knows exactly how much money we send the U.N. every year,” Enzi said in a statement according to CNS News.
“With a national debt exceeding $17 trillion, we need to be able to account for every dime we spend, including what we send to the U.N.”
The State Department currently reports on its U.N. expenditures, and although it makes the lion’s share of contributions to the United Nations, it’s by no means the only agency that does so. According to CNS News:
The last OMB report to Congress under that mandate, issued in June 2011 and covering FY2010, showed that the State Department was just one of 17 government agencies that contributed to U.N. organizations, funds, affiliates and other bodies – and that the total expenditure that fiscal year was $7.69 billion.
Other contributing agencies included the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Energy, Commerce, Defense, Agriculture and Health and Human Services.
“This will give us a more accurate picture on spending,” Enzi said. “In these financially challenging times, even in Washington, every billion, every million, every dollar should count.”
The previous reports submitted under the expired reporting requirements disclosed that U.N. contributions increased from $4.54 billion in FY2006 to $7.69 billion in FY2010, a 69 percent increase in just four years.
The U.S. currently makes the largest contribution to the U.N. operating budget — 22 percent — in addition to billions in miscellaneous contributions. Operating budget contributions are calculated on a “capacity to pay,” basis — from each according to his means.
“Between them, the U.S. and Japan alone contribute one-third of the total budget – and roughly the same as the next seven countries combined,” according to the CNS report.
Lawmakers in the House have sought to
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said this month she plans to reintroduce legislation from the last Congress that would make U.S. funding to the U.N. conditional on far-reaching reforms. The U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act sought changes to the way the U.N. is funded, allowing member states to fund only those activities and agencies they determine are efficient and in the national interest.
The Obama administration is opposed to any such change in United Nations funding.
Read more at CNS News.
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