United States lawmakers are poised to cut spending on the United Nations by hundreds of millions of dollars, less than a week after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon came to Congress to ask for continued strong support.
US congressional aides said the expected 377 million US dollars in cuts, much of which would hit UN peacekeeping, were unlikely to put the United States in arrears on its dues because it has built up significant credits at the United Nations that could be used.
The reduction in UN funding was agreed upon as part of a deal reached by President Barack Obama and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders last week to pare 38 billion USD in spending during the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and avoid a government shutdown.
The deal must still be approved by Congress. That is expected to happen this week, although there are opponents in both political parties who think either too little or too much will be slashed from government spending under the agreement.
Cuts to accounts affecting the United Nations will probably make the deal more popular in the Republican-led House of Representatives, where critics of the United Nations say the world body is bloated and serves as a forum for bashing Israel, a close US ally.
Ban came from UN headquarters in New York last week to tell US lawmakers that while he was aware of the wave of austerity, We need to have robust financial support from the United States.
The biggest US cut -- 237.3 million USD-- was made in an account that goes to international peacekeeping operations. The United States will spend 1.89 billion for that, an 11% drop from the 2.13 billion in fiscal 2010, House aides said.