Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is urging a group of House Republicans to give up their push for a bill that would slash payments to the United Nations and limit aid to Egypt, Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority, among other groups.
Clinton said in a letter Tuesday that she would urge President Barack Obama to veto the bill if it passes in both houses of Congress because the measure “would be debilitating to my efforts to carry out a considered foreign policy and diplomacy, and to use foreign assistance strategically to that end,” The Washington Post reported.
The bill cleared the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week in an effort to cut $6.4 billion from the president’s request for $51 billion in foreign aid for 2012. While it has the potential to pass the GOP-controlled House, it’s seen as unable to get through the Democrat-led Senate.
The bill would impose “onerous restrictions” on State Department operations and foreign aid, Clinton wrote, and the “severe curtailing” of dues payments to international groups including the UN and the Organization of American States would be damaging.
The legislation’s proposal to block funding to countries that don’t meet corruption standards “has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients,” as do proposals to restrict aid to Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority. The bill would only allow the flow of money to those countries if the Obama administration was able to certify that no members of terror groups or their sympathizers were serving in their governments.
Brad Goehner, a spokesman for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House committee, told the Post that the letter was “disappointing, particularly given the current debt crisis, that the Obama administration is fighting to keep sending taxpayer money to foreign organizations and governments that undermine U.S. interests.