Washington, D.C. (May 14, 2009) — Statement by Better World Campaign Executive Director Peter Yeo: “Today the Congress has taken two significant actions that are helping to inaugurate a new era of American engagement through diplomacy and multilateral institutions.
“The Foreign Relations Authorization Act that Chairman Howard Berman released today authorizes full payment of all debt the U.S. has accumulated at the United Nations since the 1999 Helm-Biden legislation. This demonstrates Congressional commitment to fully funding the UN and other international organizations whose work supports U.S. national security, foreign policy and economic goals.
“Moreover, by lifting the Congressionally-mandated 25% cap on U.S. payments to UN peacekeeping, the authorization act would enable the U.S. to begin paying its UN bills in full. As a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, the U.S. has voted for and supported the expansion of all 16 ongoing peacekeeping missions, and it is critical that we pay our fair share.
“The House of Representatives sent a similar message today when it passed a FY09 supplemental bill, authored by Chairman David Obey and Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, which includes sufficient funds to pay off all U.S. debt to the UN since 1999. The bill includes $836.9 million for the Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities account and $80 million—a $30 million increase over the President’s request—for the voluntary Peacekeeping Operations account. The increase would provide support for expanded missions in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“These actions will help return the U.S. to good financial standing at the UN after several years of U.S. late payments and underfunding. By authorizing and appropriating the resources necessary for the U.S. to meet its commitments to multilateral organizations, Congress is delivering on this Administration’s commitment to restoring U.S. leadership through diplomacy.”
About the Better World Campaign
The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations.