Washington, D.C. (July 10, 2015) – Under strong leadership from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed a strong FY16 State and Foreign Operations measure, which should provide a roadmap for both chambers to follow throughout negotiations later this year, the Better World Campaign said today.
“The Senate measure shows leadership,” said Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign. “The U.S. depends on the UN to go where our troops cannot; to defend democracy and stamp out terrorism; to heal the sick; to tend to the world’s displaced, most vulnerable civilians. We cannot go it alone — a premise that Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Leahy have clearly embraced with this sound bill, which so strongly funds peacekeeping and other UN dues.”
Specifically, the bill would provide for the following:
- UN Peacekeeping: The Senate appropriated $2.75 billion for peacekeeping, which would allow the Administration to pay its peacekeeping bills in full next year.
- UN Regular Budget: The Senate appropriated $1.5 billion for all other assessed dues to UN agencies, which nearly provides for full funding.
- Voluntary Contributions: The Senate realized the President’s requests for voluntary UN contributions, appropriating $339 million for agencies such as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is working in places like Nepal to ensure the 1.1 million children affected by the earthquake have access to medical care and education; and the UN Development Program, which advances efforts in democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and environment, and HIV/AIDS.
- Family Planning/UNFPA: Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a bipartisan effort to restore bilateral reproductive health programs to FY15 levels, repeal the Global Gag Rule, and restore $35 million in funding for UNFPA, which is providing care to the women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria and in war torn Syria, among the 150 countries and territories where it operates.
- Health: Senate Appropriators fully funded efforts to fight polio with continued funding for GAVI and continued the Global Fund and President’s Malaria Initiative at current levels.
The House Appropriations Committee has already approved its version of the FY16 spending bill.
“The Senate’s funding measure recognizes the urgency of addressing our international affairs priorities,” added Yeo. “Right now UN peacekeepers are protecting over 150,000 South Sudanese who have fled horrific violence — action that has unquestionably saved thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of lives. They are also working to stabilize Mali, a nation that until two years ago was under the control of radical Islamist groups. The U.S. cannot be expected to resolve these threats on its own; while tough decisions must be made in this fiscal climate, working with the UN is a resoundingly good bargain for us.”
“Congress has led the way to full funding for the UN for the past six years, and we are confident that—with continued, strong leadership from Senate and House appropriators—bipartisan, bicameral collaboration will again be the key to positive resolution for our multilateral commitments. We look forward to working with House and Senate to get to full funding before the end of the budget process.”
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.