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Reps. Castro and Jacobs Introduce Legislation to Restore and Strengthen U.S. Leadership in International Organizations

WASHINGTON — Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chair of the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact, and Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (CA-53), the subcommittee’s Vice Chair, introduced the Restoring U.S. Leadership in International Organizations Act of 2021. This legislation would boost America’s diplomatic presence at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and incentivize American diplomats to serve in international organizations, helping to restore and strengthen U.S. global leadership.


“As the Vice Chair to the Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact – and as someone who has worked at the United Nations and understands these issues firsthand – I’m proud to support Congressman Castro’s legislation to restore much-needed U.S. leadership at the UN,” said Congresswoman Jacobs. “From encouraging our foreign service officers to serve at the U.S. mission to the UN to promoting comprehensive training for U.S. officials who work with international and multilateral organizations, this bill serves as an important step to restore U.S. standing on the global stage.”


“Part of demonstrating that America is back and engaged on the world stage is Congress passing legislation to restore and strengthen our long-term commitment to U.S. global leadership,” said Congressman Castro. “The challenges of the 21st Century — cybersecurity, global health, the climate crisis — are too complex for any one nation alone and will be best overcome when American leadership is flanked by our allies and partners, often through international organizations such as the United Nations. That’s why this legislation is vital, elevating the role of U.S. diplomats in multilateral institutions and removing barriers for their full participation.”



The Restoring U.S. Leadership in International Organizations Act would:


  • States that U.S. policy is for the Ambassador to the United Nations to be a cabinet official and for the United States to pay its assessed dues to international organizations in a timely fashion.

  • Remove the cap on the number of Foreign Service Officers (FSO) who can receive housing allowances while serving at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) in New York City. While serving overseas, Foreign Service Officers have their housing costs covered, but in New York City only 30 people are allowed to receive housing allowances. This unfairly limits the number of people who can serve at the USUN.


  • Make housing allowances a non-taxable benefit, encouraging FSOs to serve at USUN. American diplomats receiving a housing allowance have that benefit taxed as income, thus reducing their salaries compared to assignments overseas or in Washington, D.C.

  • Incentivizes federal agencies to detail employees to international organizations and makes the Secretary of State responsible for helping other agencies detail employees to international organizations. The bill also creates an annual reporting requirement to Congress to track how many federal employees are detailed to international organizations.

  • Establishes a training program on multilateral institutions for Foreign Service Officers and Civil Servants at the State Department who work on or at international organizations.

  • Makes service in a position dealing with multilateral institutions a favorable factor when being considered for promotion to the Senior Foreign Service.


Full text of the legislation is available here.