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House will vote to punish U.N. over Human Rights seat

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House is expected to vote later this week on a measure that would punish the United Nations for its vote last week which stripped the United States of its seat on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

House International Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Illinois, and ranking Democrat Rep. Tom Lantos, D-California, will sponsor the amendment to the State Department's spending authorization bill.

The amendment, if passed, would withhold a payment that is designed to make up debts the U.S. owes the world body. The $244 million payment represents the third and final payment Washington was to make to the U.N.

A committee aide said he expected the measure to garner 300 to 350 favorable votes.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said the U.N.'s treatment of the United States is "grotesquely incomprehensible."

"The idea that the United Nations would take the United States off the Commission on Human Rights while they leave Sudan, the world's worst perpetrator, on the commission," he said. "It's just mind-boggling."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Sunday blamed U.S. allies for not supporting Washington's seat on the commission because they are angry over the Bush administration's decision to move ahead with a National Missile Defense and for rejecting the Kyoto clean air agreement, which would reduce industrial emissions.

The vote is expected to take place Thursday, or when the House returns to session next Tuesday, aides said.



RELATED STORIES:
U.S. loses U.N. rights seat; China cheers
May 4, 2001
U.S. ousted from U.N. Human Rights Commission
May 3, 2001
U.S. China resolution shelved by U.N.
April 18, 2001
U.S. criticizes Israel, Russia, China on human rights
February 26, 2001

RELATED SITE:
Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights

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