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Author Topic: Senate panel votes to cut aid for Pakistan, Egypt  (Read 127 times)
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corruptrelic
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« on: May 22, 2012, 09:15:21 PM »

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In a fresh warning to Pakistan, a Senate panel on Tuesday approved a foreign aid budget for next year that slashes U.S. assistance to Islamabad by more than half and threatens further reductions if it fails to open supply routes to NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations also cut aid to Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan while adding $50 million for Jordan to help it handle the influx of refugees from a violent Syria.

By voice vote, the panel approved the overall bill totaling $52.1 billion, which is $2.6 billion less than what President Barack Obama requested for the 2013 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and $1.2 billion below current spending. The full Appropriations Committee meets Thursday to give its final approval to the bill.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the subcommittee, and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said money for Pakistan was cut 58 percent as lawmakers question Islamabad's commitment to the fight against terrorism and as resentment lingers on Capitol Hill a year after Osama bin Laden was killed deep inside Pakistan. Tensions have increased as Pakistan closed overland supply routes to Afghanistan after a U.S. attack on the Pakistani side of the border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

"We're not adding to the money in the pipeline, but we're going to basically take all of the money out of the pipeline if we can't get these routes open because we're not going to invest in a country that won't help us in a reasonable way to deal with the threats to our forces in Afghanistan," Graham told reporters after the panel's vote.

The bill would provide $1 billion in aid to Pakistan, including $184 million for State Department operations and $800 million for foreign assistance. The panel also imposed various restrictions on the money.

The panel also cut money for Iraq by 77 percent, citing the deteriorating security situation there. The bill would provide $1.1 billion for Iraq, including $582 million in foreign assistance but no money for the police development program.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2012/05/22/senate_panel_votes_to_cut_aid_for_pakistan_egypt/

While we are going bankrupt at home and our deficit quickly approaching 16 trillion dollars, I wish we'd just cut all foreign aid. At least until we can get things in order here at home, it doesn't make sense to send billions of dollars to all these other countries. Why can't they send us a few billion dollars in aid instead?  icon_biggrin
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Ironrod
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 11:07:03 PM »

"Straighten up and fly right or we're just going to give you a billion dollars." It's tempting to zero out aid to openly hostile "allies" like Pakistan and Iraq. And with our budget mess it certainly ought to be liable for some trimming. Wiki tells me that US foreign aid to Afghanistan equals 72% of that country's GDP. That's some stimulus program.

In general, though, foreign aid is money well spent on improving stability and developing markets.

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The Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates put it in simple terms last week: "The 1% we spend on aid for the poorest not only saves millions of lives, it has an enormous impact on developing economies which means it has an impact on our economy."

President George W Bush saw the value of foreign assistance and launched the biggest programme to combat Aids and malaria. The defence secretary, Robert Gates, has also been a champion of foreign assistance, urging Congress to sustain civilian-led aid programmes, particularly in conflict zones like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Gates's message, and that of many of the military brass, is that cutting aid jeopardises US national security. It also creates a greater vacuum in so-called fragile states, which can easily be filled by those who do not have US interests at heart. There is no doubt that foreign assistance helps ward off future military conflicts.
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