Last night, the House Rules Committee voted to bring the State-Foreign Operations and Agriculture Appropriations bills forward for consideration on the House floor. If the levels in the current bills and the Managers’ amendments are enacted, the bills would dramatically alter America’s role on the global stage, at a time when our country is facing the greatest geopolitical threats since the Cold War.
The FY24 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill makes especially deep and destabilizing cuts to the United Nations. For the first time ever, this bill would eliminate all funding for the UN regular budget (UNRB), resulting in the U.S. losing its vote in the General Assembly.
By cutting the account that funds the UNRB, the bill puts at risk programs that provide sanctions enforcement and human rights monitors, as well as the work of more than 40 international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and UNESCO – an agency the U.S. just rejoined this summer.
“It’s simple,” said Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign. “When the U.S. withdraws from multilateral organizations, America’s rivals take over. If we want to cede our leadership on the global stage, this is how you do it.”
The U.S. is currently the UN’s largest donor. China would assume that status if the SFOPS bill becomes law.
The FY24 SFOPS legislation also zeroes out the account that contains core funding for UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, the UN Development Program, the UN Human Rights Office, the UN Environment Program, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among others. Finally, a “manager’s amendment” makes devastating cuts to UN peacekeeping, despite the fact that the U.S. currently owes more than a billion dollars in unpaid dues to the UN peacekeeping budget.
The suggested funding levels would cripple vital counterterrorism efforts, and slash humanitarian, food security, health and development programs at a time of increased challenges to global security and stability.
“This bill reduces the U.S. voice in global affairs to a whisper,” Yeo said. “That’s not a safer world for Americans, and I believe that’s not the world Congressional leaders intended.”
A recent poll conducted for the Better World Campaign found that 73% of registered voters believe it is important for the U.S. to maintain an active role in the UN, including 65% of Republicans. Similarly, a Pew Research Center poll found that 58% of Americans hold a favorable view of the UN.
We urge Congress to pass FY24 spending for State-Foreign Operations and Agriculture Appropriations at no less than FY23 levels.
Kathryn Kross | email@example.com | 202-862-8577