H.R. 193 — it sounds innocuous enough, just one of the many bills introduced into Congress. But this one has possibly dire consequences if it becomes law.
Quietly introduced on Jan. 3, a resolution by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) calls for the US to completely withdraw from the United Nations.
It’s called the “American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017.”
If passed into law, the US would “terminate US membership in the United Nations” and close the US Mission to the UN. It would prohibit the US giving any money to support the UN, any UN peacekeeping operations, any US armed forces support of UN peacekeepers, and any diplomatic immunity for UN officers or employees. The US would also pull out of any programs that are part of or supported by the UN.
So basically, the US would sever all ties with the United Nations.
The bill was co-sponsored by a handful of lawmakers, and one of them, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, issued a statement Monday on the bill.
He supports the bill, he said, because "our sovereignty as a country is harmed by our membership in this body."
"We need to take a long look at our relationship with the United Nations to ensure that American interests are protected first and foremost," Biggs said. "I'm grateful to Congressman Mike Rogers for introducing this legislation."
Given the key leadership position the US serves as a member of the UN, it’s hard to envision the massive impact this would have on the rest of the world.
The US provides $3 billion in funding for the UN, which is 22% of its overall budget, and hosts its headquarters in New York City. The US withdrawing from the group would end or significantly hamper its ability to function.
Aside from maintaining diplomatic relationships with the rest of the world, pulling out of the UN would also jeopardize programs like the World Health Organization and the World Food Programme, the High Commission on Refugees, and many more that provide relief to the world’s most vulnerable populations. There would be massive impacts on the areas of health, education, the enivronment, vaccinations, and emergency refugee relief.
The bill is in line with President Donald Trump's recent anti-globalization claims. In his inaguration speech he made it clear (and repeated it several times) that his agenda will be "America first."
Before he was even sworn into office, Republicans Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would pull all US funding for the United Nations as retaliation for a resolution condemning Israel for expanding its West Bank settlements.
Of course, bills like H.R. 193 are often introduced as a point of political posturing. In fact, an identical bill has been introduced into Congress at the start of every new year since 1997. But given the recent rhetoric of Trump, it's easier than ever to see this moving forward, and with devastating effects.