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What A Difference a Year Makes

June 22, 2009

This time last year, the U.S. was nearly $2 billion in debt to the United Nations (UN), making the U.S. the largest debtor to the UN in the world.

In a visit to Washington this past March, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called the U.S. “the biggest deadbeat” donor in the UN system, and was slapped on the wrist by Republican lawmakers.

Now the U.S. is poised to completely pay down all U.S. debt accrued to the world body since 1999.

Slowly, Congress has been slipping in extra funds over the last year to meet past dues. The irony is that these funds have largely been included in massive war funding bills like the one President Obama is expected to sign this week.

Along with more than $80 billion in funds for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latest supplemental passed by Congress last week includes $906 million for UN peacekeeping to completely cover past debt to the world body and support ongoing peacekeeping operations.

The U.S. stills owes nearly three – quarters of a billion dollars for debt accrued before 1999. However, this debt is contested by the U.S., and will not likely ever be paid off.

BOTTOM LINE: While we at FCNL are not happy that Congress passed another war funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan, we are happy to see increased attention towards diplomacy, development and international cooperation in this bill.

Completely paying off U.S. debt to the UN accrued under the last administration is a major victory that FCNL and dozens of other organizations have long supported.

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