HOUSE VOTES TO THE RIGHTOF BUSH, GINGRICH AND BOLTON
Washington, D.C. - Defying President Bush, the House voted Friday to cut U.S. contributions to the United Nations in half unless it carries out reforms.
Congressman Brad Sherman said the organization must be overhauled, but he voted against the bill by International Relations Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde that would reduce U.S. aid unless the United Nations meets a list of demands. Sherman supported an alternative proposed by Congressman Tom Lantos that would have given the secretary of state authority to withhold dues without making the cuts mandatory.
œThe question is what strategy do we use? Sherman told the House during floor debate on the two approaches. œDo we use the straight-jacket strategy where we dont trust the administration, or do we adopt the Lantos approach where we empower the administration, state our goals, allow the administration to withhold a substantial part of our dues and then begin to negotiate? he asked.
œThe answer depends upon whether you think the Bush administration is tough enough and sufficiently dedicated to U.N. reform, Sherman said.
œBush has shown us his attitude toward getting tough with the U.N. by uttering two words; John Bolton, the congressman added. The presidents nomination of Bolton, a ardent U.N. critic, to be the U.S. ambassador to the world body has become entangled in controversy in the Senate, but Sherman noted that œwhoever represents us at the U.N. will reflect an administration that wants Bolton.
Eight former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations weighed in against the Hyde bill. They said in a letter to members of Congress that withholding dues would ''create resentment, build animosity and actually strengthen opponents of reform.'' The approach taken by the bill also was rejected by a commission headed by former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.
The measure that the House passed is expected to languish in the Senate, where no similar legislation is under consideration. The U.S. is the biggest financial contributor to the United Nations. œWe need to make sure we get our moneys worth, not throw in the towel, Sherman said.