The United States should no longer be part of the United Nations, two Inland Northwest members of Congress are saying.
Reps. George Nethercutt of Washington and Helen Chenoweth of Idaho voted to pull this country out of the United Nations and all of its agencies and force the 52-year-old body to leave its New York City headquarters.
Both described their vote - on an amendment to the Foreign Relations Appropriations Bill that Congress is considering - as a way to “send a message” to the United Nations. The amendment failed overwhelmingly, on a vote of 54 to 369, last week.
Nethercutt, who is considering a run for the Senate, said he wanted to make the statement that America should quit the United Nations if that organization does not change its ways.
“The U.N. should rein in the bureaucracy and show the same fiscal restraint as federal agencies,” Nethercutt said through a spokesman Tuesday. It should adopt a “no-growth budget” and give the United States more say in the organization’s budgeting process.
The organization should also serve as a forum for the world’s nations to discuss “burden sharing,” the Spokane Republican said.
It should not “serve as a substitute for the United States in foreign affairs.”
He criticized the U.N. mission to Somalia that cost the lives of American troops after it shifted from famine relief to restoring civil order, and the organization’s opposition to lifting the arms embargo on Bosnia. The Clinton administration later upheld the embargo over the objections of Congress.
The vote was also a signal to the United Nations not to adopt any direct taxes or fees that would affect the United States, such as proposed fees on international air fare or international bank transmissions suggested in the past, Nethercutt said.
Chenoweth chief-of-staff Keith Rupp said the Idaho Republican questions the effectiveness of the United Nations and doesn’t believe the country’s tax dollars should be spent there.
“She’s not terribly impressed with the U.N.’s accomplishments over the last 50-some years,” Rupp said. “If you’ve got an organization that is rife with wasteful spending and dubious activities, that raises questions about sovereignty … The question is, why should we continue this?”
The amendment began as The American Sovereignty Restoration Act, a separate bill proposed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a one-time Libertarian candidate for president. Chenoweth is a co-sponsor of that bill.
Last week, as the House of Representatives was considering the bill that will set the nation’s foreign policy for the next two years, Paul was allowed to bring his bill up as an amendment.
Nethercutt was the only member of the delegation from Washington state to vote for it. A potential Republican rival for the Senate seat, Rep. Linda Smith, voted no. Idaho’s other member of the House, Mike Crapo, voted for the amendment.
“She didn’t have any realistic expectation it would pass this Congress,” Rupp said of Chenoweth. “It serves as a vehicle to raise the level of debate.”
, DataTimes MEMO: IDAHO HEADLINE: Chenoweth votes to give boot to U.N.