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H.R. 193 (115th): American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017

It’s headquartered in the U.S., but is it time for America leave the U.N.? Some Republicans think so.

Context and what the bill does

The United Nations was created in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II, as a means of trying to establish greater cooperation among countries. The institution is headquartered in the U.S., in New York City.

Yet the U.S. contributes about 22 percent of the U.N. operating budget, and some Republicans say its good intentions have been subverted by a globalist mission that runs contrary to America’s ostensible values.

The American Sovereignty Restoration Act would remove all U.S. involvement from the U.N. The bill was introduced in January 2017 by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL3), and numbered H.R. 193.

What supporters say

Supporters argue the U.N. pursues an agenda that often runs counter to what supporters believe America’s policy goals should be.

“The U.S. bankrolls nearly 22 percent of the U.N.’s annual budget. Still, the U.N. continues to promote many ideals that attack American sovereignty. Most recently, the U.N. Security Council sided with Palestine and passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in Jerusalem. Attacks against one of the United States’ greatest allies are just the most recent chapter in the UN’s dangerous agenda.

“Other alarming U.N. initiatives have included The Law of the Sea Treaty, The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change’s recent move to re-establish an international regulation regime to end global warming, which would heavily target fossil fuels, and the potential Arms Trade Treaty, which would threaten our Second Amendment rights.”

(Conservative fears that the U.N. represents — or could potentially represent — a “world government” have never come to pass, since the U.N.’s actual enforcement mechanisms are fairly weak and often rely on voluntary cooperation by member states.)

What opponents say

One person who appears to have possibly changed his mind on the issue is President Trump.

As president-elect, Trump tweeted “The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!” When asked by a reporter to follow up, Trump stopped just short of saying the U.S. should actually leave the UN but added, “When do you see the United Nations solving problems? They don’t. They cause problems. So, if it lives up to the potential, it’s a great thing. And if it doesn’t, it’s a waste of time and money.”

But as president, Trump seems to have changed his tune. During his first address to the UN in September, Trump said the U.N. _does _in fact solve problems and the U.S. supports them, though without giving the institution a blank check as Trump feels was previously the case.

“The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but, to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it,” Trump said during his first address to the U.N. in September. “Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell. But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.”

Odds of passage

The bill has attracted eight Republican cosponsors. It awaits a potential vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. A previous version introduced by Rogers in 2015 attracted seven Republican cosponsors but never received a committee vote.

Other similar Republican bills, such as ones to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, have gone nowhere — but have seen their roles and budgets dramatically reduced in the Trump era. For example, the American budget for the UN has decreased by $285 million as the Trump Administration has threatened to leave the UN’s Human Rights Council (even if not threatening to leave the whole UN entirely).

Last updated May 10, 2018. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 3, 2017.


American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017

This bill repeals the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 and other specified related laws.

The bill requires: (1) the President to terminate U.S. membership in the United Nations (U.N.), including any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body; and (2) closure of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

The bill prohibits: (1) the authorization of funds for the U.S. assessed or voluntary contribution to the U.N., (2) the authorization of funds for any U.S. contribution to any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, (3) the expenditure of funds to support the participation of U.S. Armed Forces as part of any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, (4) U.S. Armed Forces from serving under U.N. command, and (5) diplomatic immunity for U.N. officers or employees.