United Nations Reform: The Helms-Biden Act

 Senator Helms speaks at the United Nations Security Council, January 20, 2000.

Senator Helms speaks at the United Nations Security Council, January 20, 2000.

 Senator Helms and Senator Biden worked closely together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Helms and Senator Biden worked closely together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

On January 20, 2000, Senator Jesse Helms became the first legislator to address the United Nations Security Council. He did so in an effort to improve U.S.-U.N. relations coinciding with the passing of the Helms-Biden Act, legislation aimed at reforming the funding of the United Nations.

 Helms, Biden and other members of Congress worked directly with the Security Council to reach a compromise.

Helms, Biden and other members of Congress worked directly with the Security Council to reach a compromise.

 A handwritten note from President Bill Clinton thanking Helms for his work with the United Nations.

A handwritten note from President Bill Clinton thanking Helms for his work with the United Nations.

In a true bi-partisan effort, Helms worked closely with Senator Joe Biden, UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and President Clinton to introduce legislation addressing U.N. funding and reforming the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. The Helms-Biden Act passed with an overwhelming majority in the Senate and President Clinton signed the bill to law. The bill addressed three key issues:

  1. The need for the United Nations to rein in its spending
  2. The need for other nations to share U.N. expenses with the United States
  3. The responsibility of the United States to honor its legitimate agreements