A proposed bill by Alabama Congressmen Mike Rogers could end the United States’ relationship with the United Nations. The American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017, which was introduced by Rogers on January 3rd, calls for the repeal of the U.N. Participation Act of 1945. If passed, H.R. 193 would require, “the President to terminate U.S. membership in the United Nations (U.N.), including any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body; and closure of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.”
In addition, the bill would also prohibit the authorization of any funds for the UN or any of its agencies, as well as US armed forces from serving under UN command. Diplomatic immunity for UN officers or employees would also be suspended.
Speaking on behalf of the bill, Congressman Rogers, a Republican from Alabama’s 3rd Congressional district, stated,
“The United States’ participation with the United Nations should end immediately. The U.N. continues to prove it’s an inefficient bureaucracy and a complete waste of American tax dollars. Although the United States makes up almost a quarter of the U.N.’s annual budget, the U.N. has attempted a number of actions that attack our rights as U.S. citizens.”
For fans of the UN or, you know, global diplomacy, this would be terrifying news… if it weren’t for the fact that this legislation has been proposed biennially since 1997. Initially identified as H.R. 1146, the bill was first put forward to the 105th Congress by former Presidential candidate Ron Paul. It did not make it out of the House that year, nor any of the years it was reintroduced to date (from 1999 through 2015).
Following Paul’s departure from the House of Representatives, the bill was sponsored by Paul C. Broun (R-GA) in 2013 and by Representative Rogers in 2015. The 2017 iteration has 6 co-sponsors, is currently with the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and will likely be introduced for consideration in late January or early February.
However, there is one major difference in the significance between those previous proposals and the current version: the man who sits in the White House. As recently as December 2016, President Trump was critical of the UN, stating, “There is such tremendous potential, but it is not living up. When do you see the United Nations solving problems? They don’t. They cause problems.” The then-President Elect added, “So, if it lives up to the potential, it’s a great thing. And if it doesn’t, it’s a waste of time and money.” That same month, Trump also took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the organization:
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the same day that it was introduced by Representative Rogers. The CFA is responsible for reviewing all legislation that “impacts the diplomatic community, which includes the Department of State, the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Peace Corps, the United Nations, and the enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act.” The CFA is chaired by Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) is its ranking member.
Committee chair Royce previously voted in favor of the United Nations Reform Act of 2005. The bill, which passed in the House but failed to make it out of Congress, proposed cutting funding to the U.N. in half if the organization failed to meet criteria specified within the legislation. Royce co-sponsored a similar bill (which was also unsuccessful) in 2011.
If the committee votes to pass the bill, then H.R. 193 will be placed on the House calendar. It is then subject to debate on the House floor followed by a final vote. If no action is taken, then the bill effectively dies in committee. The CFA did not respond to requests for comment regarding the current status of the bill.
Those wishing to contact the committee can do so by visiting the CFA website or by speaking with their respective representatives.