Representative Illeana Ros-Lehtinen to push for U.N. funding cuts

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wants to eliminate U.S. funding for the U.N. Human Rights Council, which she deemed a “waste of taxpayer dollars,” the Republican representative told The Hill.

“I’d like to make sure that we once and for all kill all U.S. funding for that beast,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “Because I don’t think that it advances U.S. interests, I don’t think that that’s a pro-democracy group, it’s a rogue’s gallery, pariah states, they belong there because they don’t want to be sanctioned.”

Ros-Lehtinen will host a panel Tuesday for U.N. critics and advocates. The briefing, which was originally scheduled to take place the week the House suspended most activity in light of the Tucson shooting, will be called “The United Nations: Urgent Problems that Need Congressional Action.”

Scheduled to testify is Peter Yeo of the United Nations Foundation/Better World Campaign, which urged President Barack Obama at the beginning of his term to “mount a campaign” to secure a place on the council.

“Support of our U.N. commitments is more than an obligation, it is a smart investment in America’s strategic, economic and political interests,” Yeo said. “Continued American engagement and diplomacy at the UN will only advance our goals for democracy, human rights and world prosperity.”

Ros-Lehtinen said Friday that oversight of the U.N. is crucial, referring to the “irony” of the case of Michael Dudley, the director of the investigations division of the U.N.’s internal oversight office who is under investigation for retaliating against whistleblowers.

“The fact that the U.S. continues to contribute billions of taxpayer dollars every year to an unaccountable, unreformed U.N. is no laughing matter,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “These allegations reinforce the need for expanded and effective oversight of the U.N. Next week, our committee will lead the way by holding the first of several briefings and hearings on UN reform.”