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Bridget Johnson


January 14, 2014 - 8:22 am

The omnibus appropriations agreement reached by both parties and both houses of Congress prevents the implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty by blocking any funding unless it’s ratified by the Senate — where the Obama administration doesn’t have the votes.

“Last fall, the Obama Administration’s signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty in a direct dismissal of the American people and the bipartisan Senate majority that rejects this treaty,” Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) said.

“Throughout this process, it has been disturbing to watch the administration reverse U.S. policies, abandon its own ‘red line’ negotiation principles, admit publicly the treaty’s dangerous ambiguity, and hastily review the final treaty text,” he added. “With the passage of the omnibus bill, it will be made unequivocally clear that Congress is committed to upholding the fundamental individual rights of Americans and rejects the ATT. We will not be bound by the treaty and we will not fund its implementation.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) unveiled the agreement yesterday, which includes all 12 appropriations bills. Mikulski and nearly 50 GOP and Democratic lawmakers worked together on the deal, building off the negotiations of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) at the end of last year.

“This agreement will not be viewed as perfect by everyone,” Mikulski said. “It required difficult choices, and nobody got everything they wanted. But this agreement is what we need now to move the country forward by funding the critical missions of our government and investing in America’s greatest assets — our people, our infrastructure, and the research and discoveries that will create jobs today and in the future.”

“And at the same time, the agreement ensures the American people get value for their taxpayer dollars by ending dated, duplicative, and dysfunctional programs.”

Mikulski said she expects the House and Senate to consider the package this week.

The language against Obama pushing forward with the UN pact states, “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be obligated or expended to implement the Arms Trade Treaty until the Senate approves a resolution of ratification for the Treaty.”

In October, 50 senators including five Democrats wrote to Obama to advise that the treaty would not be approved and he shouldn’t make promises surrounding its implementation. The Senate passed 53-46 an amendment in March to keep the U.S. from joining the treaty.

“We urge you to notify the treaty depository that the U.S. does not intend to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, and is therefore not bound by its obligations,” they wrote.

They stated that their opposition to the treaty rests on:

  1. The treaty failed to achieve consensus, and was adopted by majority vote in the U.N. General Assembly. This violates the red line drawn by the Obama Administration;
  2. The treaty allows amendments by a three-quarters majority vote, circumventing the power and duty of the U.S. Senate to provide its advice and consent on treaty commitments before they are assumed by the United States;
  3. The treaty includes only a weak non-binding reference to the lawful ownership, use of, and trade in firearms, and recognizes none of these activities, much less individual self-defense, as fundamental individual rights. This poses a threat to the Second Amendment;
  4. The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty is “ambiguous.” By becoming party to the treaty, the U.S. would therefore be accepting commitments that are inherently unclear;
  5. The criteria at the heart of the treaty are vague and easily politicized. They violate the right of the American people, under the Constitution, to freely govern themselves. The language restricts the ability of the United States to conduct its own foreign policy and allows foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the United States; and
  6. The State Department has acknowledged that the treaty includes language that could hinder the United States from fulfilling its strategic, legal and moral commitments to provide arms to key allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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It amazes me that we have 46 senators that are that un-american. Time for the torches axes and pitchforks to come out of their hiding places. They have no right to hand off our freedoms so callously. Mob justice is what these idiots fear - hence the need to take our second amendment rights from us.

It makes me wonder what they have in mind for us after the collect our guns.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Those who turn their swords into plows will plow for those who don't.

- Thomas Jefferson
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It seems to me that every bit as evil to America is the UN's grab at running the internet and taxing it. The last time I looked, the administration was also happily giving over to the UN whatever they asked for vis-a-vis internet regulation and naming protocols. I'm sure that if the UN can't take our guns away from us, they'll be happily satisfied if Obama allows them to try to institute some sort of individual tax on them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...violate the right of the American people, under the Constitution, to freely govern themselves. The language restricts the ability of the United States to conduct its own foreign policy and allows foreign sources of authority to impose judgment or control upon the United States;"

That's the point of most anything the UN might be up to these days, from the trumped up serial IPCC reports on "warming" (and pressure for so called developed countries to pay "reparations") to efforts to subject US law to the international criminal court at the Hague.

Point being, the elimination of national sovereignty, especially in the case of the United States. Even some Supreme Court justices like Ruthie Ginsburg seem to find the "transnationalist" putsch appealing.

Sure, let's just keep financing the UN, to the tune of about 23% of its total budget, so it can continue its daily work to subvert this nation on its own soil.

Joke's on us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Agreed. It's all about shifting power from individual nations to an international governing body - at least as far as the bureaucrats at the UN are concerned.

Given how dysfunctional that assembly is, and given how little value for our effort we get out of it, perhaps it's time to formally withdraw and tell them it's time to pack their bags and relocate someplace more in line with their totalitarian impulses.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think Obama would consider that a list of features, not bugs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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