WASHINGTON - A US Senator on Friday announced a new version of his amendment to strip foreign aid from Pakistan, Egypt and Libya in the wake of the killings of the American Ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats and the alleged torture of the Pakistani doctor who helped America find and kill Osama bin Laden.
According to Paul’s new amendment, the $4 billion-a-year American aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt would be cutoff, sending an additional $2 billion to the $1 billion jobs bill for veterans and apply the remaining $2 billion to reduce the Federal deficit.
Paul, a Republican, said he had urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, “to do the right thing for taxpayers and veterans: to send a message to countries that our aid can’t be taken for granted, and to stand up for our troops abroad now, and those who have returned home after serving.”
Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a sharp rebuke to Sen. Paul on the Senate floor.
He asked Senator Paul if he had ever been to either Egypt or Pakistan. In his remarks on the floor, Senator Kerry said that he found it “stunning” when there are remarks made about those specific countries not being friendly.
Senator Kerry said that Libya and Egypt were going through a period of transition after revolutions, and ,added, that the first few years were not easy, and highlighted the US history as an example. Recounting that troops in the northwestern part of Pakistan were losing their lives to militants, “and you want to cut off aid?” asked Senator Kerry.
Kerry reminded that US troops in Afghanistan get some supplies through the supply routes in Pakistan. Senator Kerry said the US has been able to destroy the al Qaeda with Pakistan’s help.
“Civilians are being killed in Pakistan,” he said. Kerry said that Pakistan’s political system and population were enduring the war, and questioned Senator Paul’s statement on cutting off assistance.
He reminded the Senator that less than one per cent of the US budget goes to assistance abroad.