UN backers brace for $225 million sequestration hit

The campaign has been bringing that message to Capitol Hill in the hopes of creating momentum for an alternative to sequestration. Yeo said other cuts, although they affect U.N. programs whose funding level is at America's discretion, would also be harm U.S. interests. 

For example, sequestration cuts $36 million from the U.N. refugee agency, $6 million from the World Food Program and $7 million from the U.N. Children's Fund, UNICEF. All those programs play a critical role in helping the more than 1 million refugees from Syria access temporary shelter, food and child and maternal care.

“There's three different ways refugees in Syria are being hit here,” Yeo said. “When we think about American interest [U.N. programs are] really on the front line.”

Finally, he said, the cuts send exactly the wrong message at a time when the U.N. is finally adopting long-standing U.S. requests to make its budgeting process more efficient and transparent, including agreeing last week to make its oversight audits public. Over the past three years, he said, the world body has increased internal oversight on budgetary matters; improved cooperation among agencies; and consolidated support for peace-keeping missions.

“And yet through sequestration,” Yeo said, “we're demonstrating that our own budget system is fundamentally flawed.”