US Republican lawmakers taking aim at UN

Newly empowered Republican lawmakers are taking their first shots at the United Nations, depicting it as bloated and ineffective as they seek to cut U.S. funding for the world body.

On Tuesday, a House of Representatives panel aired criticisms of the U.N. at a briefing expected to prescribe congressional action.

Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, is seeking cuts and has introduced a bill intended to pressure the United Nations to change the way it operates and to make dues voluntary. She also is promising investigations into possible corruption and mismanagement.

“U.S. policy on the United Nations should be based on three fundamental questions: Are we advancing American interests? Are we upholding American values? Are we being responsible stewards of American taxpayer dollars?” she said in a statement that was read at the briefing, which she could not attend. “Unfortunately, right now, the answer to all three questions is `No.’ ”

U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said that U.S. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would work with U.S. lawmakers.

“The United Nations has always worked constructively with the United States, and we share the same goals: for a stronger United Nations, one that is efficient, effective and accountable,” she said.



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