Cruz, Graham introduce bill to cut UN funding until anti-settlements resolution repealed

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two Republican U.S. senators introduced legislation that would cut funding to the United Nations until it repeals an anti-settlements resolution passed last month by the Security Council.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina went on morning shows Thursday to announce the resolution, which is newsworthy in part because the two senators are known to intensely dislike one another.

“Love is everywhere,” Graham said on MSNBC.

The legislation, which sharply criticizes the Obama administration for not vetoing the Security Council resolution, faces serious obstacles: Senate Democrats would likely use the filibuster to block it. Similar legislation will soon be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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A joint statement said the legislation, by declaring illegal settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, presupposes the outcome of final status negotiations.

“The United States is the largest contributor of funding to the United Nations, providing 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget, the highest of any member state, which gives the U.S. considerable influence over the United Nations,” the statement said. “The United States must use this influence to help our allies, in this case Israel, which is crucial to our own national security interests.”

Much of the rollout in the news media on Thursday morning had to do with the at times bitter rivalry between the senators, who both contended in the primaries for the Republican presidential nomination.

“I want to apologize to Ted for saying he should be killed on the Senate floor,” Graham said on MSNBC, standing next to Cruz in the halls of Congress in a live feed to “Morning Joe.”

Cruz’s snappy comeback: “At least we’re not on the Senate floor now.”