United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011

November 10, 2011
November 10, 2011
Referred to Senate (sub)committee

3 cosponsors

Would make sweeping cuts to U.S. contributions to the UN, potentially by as much as 50%. Funding for UNRWA and other bodies focused on Palestinians would be specifically targeted, as well as bodies that vote for Palestinian membership at the UN or are critical of Israel. Secy. of State Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to Ros-Lehtinen warning that she would urge President Obama to veto the bill because it would undercut U.S. foreign policy.

Introducing the bill in August and including a provision which would suspend funding to any UN body that upgraded the status of the Palestinian mission, Ros-Lehtinen said one of the major goals of the bill to ‘stop the dangerous scheme [of the Palestinian UN statehood push] in its tracks.’ Ros-Lehtinen has introduced this bill in-whole or in-part several times since 2009, both as a stand-alone bill and as amendments to other bills. Many of the sections below, including ‘Equality at the United Nations’ and the measure to reduce U.S. funding for UNRWA, have been central parts of UN reform bills introduced by other Republicans several times since at least 2005. Both the Zionist Organization of America and the Republican Jewish Coalition sent alerts to their members asking them to urge their members of Congress to support the bill. Notably, AIPAC did not publicly support the bill, and House leaders reportedly refused to schedule the bill for a vote because it lacked sufficient support from the pro-Israel community.

Palestinian membership:

Would require the secy. of state to withhold funding to any UN body that that recognizes a Palestinian state or upgrades the status of the Palestinian observer mission, the PLO, the PA, or any other Palestinian organization prior to a final peace agreement with Israel. Would state the policy of the U.S. to be to oppose any such recognition and would require the president use the voice, vote, and influence of the U.S. to advance the policy.


Would withhold U.S. contributions to the regular budget of UNRWA until the secy. of state certifies that no UNRWA ‘official, employee, consultant, contractor, subcontractor, representative, or affiliate’ is a member of a foreign terrorist organization; has distributed or incited ‘anti-American, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric or propaganda’; or has used any UNRWA resources to distribute political materials regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Further the Secretary of State would have had to certify that: no UNRWA facility or resource is being used by a foreign terrorist organization; UNRWA is subject to financial audits by an internationally recognized independent auditing firm and has implemented an effective system of vetting and oversight to prevent the use of any UNRWA resources by any foreign terrorist organization; no UNRWA-funded school uses textbooks or other educational materials that propagate ‘anti-American, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric, propaganda or incitement’; that no recipient of UNRWA funds or loans is a member of a foreign terrorist organization; and that UNRWA holds no accounts or has no affiliation with a financial institution the U.S. ‘deems or believes to be complicit’ with money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The certification would be effective for 180 days unless the secy. of state ‘receives information rendering that certification factually inaccurate.’ Theoretically U.S. funding for UNRWA would thus be subject to anyone who wishes to provide the secy. of state with such information.

Would have limited U.S. funding for UNRWA to an amount: (1) no greater than the highest annual contribution made by a member country of the League of Arab States; (2) that, as a proportion of the total UNRWA budget, exceeds the proportion of the total budget for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) paid by the United States; or (3) that exceeds 22 percent of the total budget of UNRWA.

The bill also would express the s

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