WASHINGTON (JTA) — House Republicans have introduced a companion to a Senate bill that would cut funding to the United Nations until it repeals a recent resolution slamming Israel’s settlement policy.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., introduced the bill on Wednesday, two weeks after Sens. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced a similar bill.
Graham chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee foreign operations subcommittee, indicating that the Republican leadership in both chambers is lending the initiative serious backing. Both Granger and Graham are in a position to control the flow of money to the United Nations.
Israel’s government, parts of the pro-Israel community and congressional Republicans were infuriated in late December when the Obama administration, in its final month, for the first time allowed through a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
President Donald Trump also condemned the vote at the time, and has questioned the efficacy of the United Nations. However, it is not clear whether he would back cutting the funding overall. His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, during her confirmation hearings reassured Democratic senators that she understands the importance of funding the institution.
Democrats, while excoriating the United Nations as a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment, say cutting funds would only diminish U.S. influence in a forum for peacemaking and for delivering relief.