October 7, 2006

Each year, Congress is responsible for approving the payments requested by the Administration for U.S. assessed contributions to the United Nations' regular and peacekeeping budgets. Currently, the U.S. is assessed 22% of the UN regular budget and 27% for UN peacekeeping costs. These contributions are used for activities such as deterring and preventing terrorism; stopping the proliferation of nuclear and biological weapons; improving health and nutrition; and fostering peace and democracy around the world.

The payment of our regular and peacekeeping dues is a treaty obligation that the U.S. voluntarily takes on by being part of the UN. Meeting these financial obligations is critically important to UN operations. Yet the U.S. government is falling further behind in its UN dues. This year, the Administration's budget failed to adequately fund our assessed dues at the UN, and many in Congress have been disinclined to increase funding for UN accounts.

  1. Do you support the U.S. paying its full share of funding responsibilities for the United Nations?
    (A) Yes, I support the U.S. paying all its funding dues to the UN
    The U.S. government is falling further behind in its dues to the UN; U.S. debt to the UN is likely to double this year, to about $1.3 billion. Most of the arrears are for supporting critical peacekeeping missions around the world including Lebanon and Sudan.

  2. Do you support the U.S. paying all of the debt it has accumulated with the UN?
    (A) Yes, I support the U.S. paying all of its arrears to the United Nations

    Over the last several years, the international community has called on the UN to take on an increasing number of peacekeeping missions. As a permanent member of the Security Council - which authorizes UN peacekeeping missions - the U.S. has the right to block the creation of any new mission and to cut off any existing mission every six months. As such, the President Bush and his UN Ambassador, John Bolton, have consistently supported all new and existing UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

  3. Do you support the United Nations peacekeeping operations in:
    (A) Darfur             __X_ Yes ____No
    (B) Lebanon           __X_ Yes ____No
    (C) India/Pakistan  __X_ Yes ____No

    In 2006, President Bush asked Congress for $22 million to begin refurbishing the United Nations' headquarters - a complex that fails to meet New York City fire, health, and safety codes even as it remains a terrorist target. Over 4000 civil servants, a quarter of them Americans, work at the headquarters. Over 350,000 people visit the building annually. The UN headquarters complex was also designed to accommodate 70 member nations, not the current membership of 192.

  4. Do you support renovating UN headquarters in New York to accommodate today's UN membership and get it into compliance with New York City fire, health, and safety codes?
    (A) Yes, I support paying our assessed share of the costs to refurbish the UN headquarters in New York and get it into compliance with New York City fire, health and safety codes.

    The United Nations is the world's pre-eminent diplomatic forum - and it has a unique level of global legitimacy because it is open to all countries. During the past 60 years, the United Nations has helped governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals promote peace, stability and prosperity throughout the world. Together, the 192 member-states of the UN have ended wars and prevented conflict. Together they have blazed trails to eradicate polio and built international networks and warning systems to end other infectious diseases. Together, they have created the stability that fosters economic growth and alleviates poverty.

  5. Do you believe that paying our dues in full and engaging constructively at the United Nations can help repair U.S. alliances and restore our reputation internationally?
    A. Yes, I think that paying our dues and engaging constructively at the UN can help to rebuild alliances and restore the United States' international reputation.

  6. Please tell us what you believe is the primary way the United Nations furthers the United States' international interests?

    1. The United Nations shares the financial and military burdens in conflict areas so the U.S., as the world's only remaining superpower, doesn't have to pay all the bills and face all the risk.
    2. The United Nations provides a diplomatic forum to strengthen international relationships.
    3. The UN provides international legitimacy for efforts like countering weapons proliferation in Iran, a place where the U.S. acting alone has little influence.

    A. All three choices are legitimate. I would put (B) as first in priority, followed by (C) and then (A).

Candidate Signature: Jean Hay Bright
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