WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bill that would have pulled some United States funding from the United Nations failed to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would have pulled $179 million from the approximately $3 billion that the United States pays in U.N. dues.
It won a 259-169 majority on Wednesday, but failed to garner the two-thirds majority bills need when advanced through a speeded-up process.
Ros-Lehtinen claimed the money was an overpayment to an organization that she has targeted by alleging it is wasteful, corrupt and anti-Israel.
Prominent Jewish Democrats countered that $100 million of the funds were designated for security improvements demanded by the New York Police Department.
Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, and Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) issued statements slamming the GOP for introducing the bill, and Ackerman and three other New York Democrats — Nita Lowey, Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney — had written to members urging them not to back the bill.
"This bill would divert funds that have been allocated for New York City Police Department security enhancements to the United Nations compound and surrounding perimeter in New York City," the letter said. "Without these critical enhancements, the United Nations compound, and the City of New York, would be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Securing the U.N. Headquarters is critically important to both the U.N. and the United States as the host country."