The Republicans in the House of Representatives are setting the groundwork to decrease or actually eliminate U.S. funding for the United Nations. According to BuzzFeed News, two options are being contemplated: a) decrease U.N. funding, or b) make the funding voluntary and thus requiring Congress to vote on it every two years. The report quoted Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC): “One is an incremental step; the other is really a herculean leap.” Meadows added, “Israel is a bipartisan issue, so I think that [if legislation] is measured and appropriate, we could pick up a lot of Democrats to support it as well."
The Heritage Foundation reported in 2012 that the U.S. provides more than 22 percent of the U.N.'s budget, which it is required to do as a member of the organization under its charter. BuzzFeed noted that the U.S. has earmarked $594 million in U.N. operational funding for 2018.
Republicans and Democrats who are supportive of Israel are incensed over the Obama administration’s abstention on a key vote in the U.N. Security Council. Council members voted 14-0 condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “illegal.” The Obama administration refused to use its veto power to block the resolution.
Even though Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) criticized the Obama administration over the abstention, he has abstained from commenting over U.N. funding.
The Senate may address the issue of U.N. funding. In December, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that the U.N. should be defunded unless it repeals the motion on Israel’s settlements. In a statement to BuzzFeed, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “I believe Congress should end U.S. taxpayer funding for the United Nations unless and until the U.N. reverses this anti-Israel resolution, and I believe there will be considerable support in Congress, I hope in both parties, to do exactly that.
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