Sports and my thoughts

Friday, June 17, 2005

Thoughts: House passes bill to cut funds to the UN

This is the best news I've heard today. While cutting funds to the UN is a good start, I'd rather kick them out of the United States and tell them to go elsewhere. I think they are the biggest waste of space and time.

Culminating years of frustration with the performance and behavior of the United Nations, the House voted Friday to slash U.S. contributions to the world body if it does not substantially change the way it operates.

The 221-184 vote, which came despite a Bush administration warning that such a move could actually sabotage reform efforts, was a strong signal from Congress that a policy of persuasion wasn't enough to straighten out the U.N.

"We have had enough waivers, enough resolutions, enough statements," said House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., the author of the legislation. "It's time we had some teeth in reform."

The legislation would withhold half of U.S. dues to the U.N.'s general budget if the organization did not meet a list of demands for change. Failure to comply would also result in U.S. refusal to support expanded and new peacekeeping missions. The bill's prospects in the Senate are uncertain.

Just prior to the final vote, the House rejected, 216-190, an alternative offered by the top Democrat on the International Relations Committee, Tom Lantos of California, that also would have outlined U.N. reforms but would have left it to the discretion of the secretary of state whether to withhold U.S. payments.

This is a good way to start balancing the budget, by cutting funding to stupid things like the UN. They are also trying to cut funding to another stupid program, public broadcasting.

Public television stations and National Public Radio would lose 25 percent of their funding next year under a bill cleared by a House committee Thursday night, although some of their funding for future years would be restored.

The moves came as the House Appropriations panel approved a tightly drawn spending bill for labor, health and education programs. For the first time since the early days of GOP control of Congress 10 years ago, the measure, taken as a whole, makes actual cuts to the programs funded by the bill.

The bill is perhaps the most controversial spending bill that passes Congress each year, and Senate GOP moderates have traditionally forced more money into it. Tight budget times, however, promise to make that difficult this time around.

The measure eliminates almost 50 programs totaling $2.3 billion and cuts many others, including a $100 million cut from an already-enacted budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the budget year starting Oct. 1. The corporation provides grants to local public broadcasting stations and creators of programming.

Finally the Republicans are acting like Republicans and cutting fundings to things we shouldn't be funding in the first place. I'd like to see more news stories like this.


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