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Democrats Absent on UN Reform Bill

House Foreign Affairs Chair Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is still working hard to rally attention for her United Nations reform bill, which would cut funding for the UN if it adopts a Palestinian unilateral statehood resolution. But at her press conference today, the main barrier for the legislation was clear: it still has no bipartisan support.

The 10 members of Congress who spoke in support of the bill at the press conference were all Republicans. And even though the legislation has 74 cosponsors, not a single House Democrat has signed on – suggesting it has virtually no shot of getting through the Senate, even if the GOP majority passes it in the House.

There’s no shortage of pro-Israel Democrats in Congress. But where are they on this bill? Ros-Lehtinen’s office says it’s not an issue of outreach; they’ve sought out Democratic support, but so far, nobody’s biting.

As Jonathan pointed out last month, the Obama administration has already taken a stance against the proposed reforms. And House Democrats are standing firmly in line behind the president. It raises an interesting question: Even if pro-Israel Democrats are willing to break with the Obama administration on issues that explicitly relate to Israel, are they averse to doing the same on legislation that only impacts Israel indirectly?

That’s a pretty daunting thought. But even though the bill’s prospects look dim at the moment, Ros-Lehtinen says she’s going to continue to fight for it.

“My legislation lays down a marker, it says ‘let’s work together.’ And I hope that we work together in a bipartisan way,” she said today. “So, yes, we can just say ‘This bill will never become law, therefore we won’t file a bill, and we won’t push for cosponsors and we won’t try to move it on the floor.’ But that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to say this is what we stand for, these are the principles that we believe in.”



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