Global Policy Forum

Congress Sends Defense Authorization Bill to President;

United Nations Association of the United States of America
October 5, 2006

Just prior to adjourning for the mid-term congressional elections, the House and Senate gave final approval to legislation authorizing programs and spending for the Defense Department for fiscal year 2007. The bill (H.R. 5122; Conference Report 109-702) includes reporting requirements on US contributions to the United Nations and the situation in Darfur, Sudan, as well as language amending the American Servicemembers' Protection Act, which prohibits US cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC). The National Defense Authorization Act is soon expected to be signed into law by the President.

Peacekeeping Cap Adjustment Eliminated
During conference negotiations, language temporarily adjusting a statutory cap on UN peacekeeping payments-that had been included in the Senate-passed version of the bill-was removed from the final version of the legislation. The cap currently prevents the United States from paying more than 25 percent of UN peacekeeping expenses. Since the United States is responsible for approximately 27 percent of UN peacekeeping costs, the cap results in the accumulation of new UN arrears. If enacted, the provision would have enabled the United States to fulfill its financial obligations to UN peacekeeping operations through calendar year 2007 (see Washington Report, June 26, 2006).

Requires Report on US-UN Contributions
The bill requires the administration to submit an annual report to Congress-through 2010-detailing all United States financial contributions, whether assessed or voluntary, to the United Nations, UN agencies, and UN-affiliated bodies. The report is to identify the percentage of total funding for each UN programs and agencies that is provided by the United States, and to detail the amount and purpose of each contribution.

Anti-ICC Legislation Amended
The bill repeals a provision of the anti-ICC American Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA) that had prohibited the disbursement of military education and training assistance to any country that is both party to the ICC, and has not agreed to provide immunity from ICC prosecution to American officials. The President had been provided waiver authority over this provision, which he used on October 2nd to allow for the disbursement of military assistance to all 21 countries subject to the prohibition.

Calls for Report on Darfur Peace Process
The legislation requires the administration to report to Congress every six months on the status of the Darfur Peace Agreement that was signed on May 5, 2006, and on US support of the African Union Mission in Darfur and the UN peacekeeping mission authorized for Darfur, including US efforts to secure troop commitments for the UN force.

More Information on UN Finance
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