The recent vote to suspend foreign aid to 3 Middle Eastern countries for their questionable support of the Unites States was a bust. Senator Rand Paul's legislation lost in the Senate, with only 10 Senators supporting it, all Republicans.
Via: The Daily Caller
Senate overwhelmingly rejects foreign aid cuts for Egypt, Libya and Pakistan
By a vote of 81 to 10, the Senate on Saturday defeated legislation that would have suspended foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya in the wake of the violent anti-American demonstrations in those countries. All 10 supporters of the bill were Republicans.I agree with Senator Paul that we need to cut and/or suspend aid to the countries that do not have our best interests at heart. That makes sense. After all, why should we bankroll countries who hate us and are actively working against us? Apparently, most of the Senate didn't agree with Senator Paul.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul had threatened to hold up all Senate business until the bill was considered. He succeeded in forcing a vote, but couldn’t come close to passage.
“When nearly 80 percent of Americans believe foreign aid should be reduced – especially to countries that are not our allies – it is inconceivable why their views are ignored by so many in Congress,” Paul said in a statement. “I am far from defeated on this; I will continue to fight for this issue when Congress returns, and I will continue to call attention to the billions of American dollars – borrowed from China, among other places – being sent to governments that are not willing to respect and protect our interests overseas.”
The proposal would have ended aid to the governments of Egypt and Libya until their police forces arrested all the perpetrators of the recent embassy attacks and handed them over to U.S. authorities. Pakistan would have been ineligible to receive aid until its government released an imprisoned doctor who cooperated with Americans in locating Osama bin Laden.
Both of my Senators from Florida voted against the legislation. It wasn't surprising to me that Senator Bill Nelson (with a D behind his name) would vote against it, but I was a little confused and disappointed when I heard Senator Marco Rubio (a guy I happily supported in 2010) voted against it, too. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't agree with something I thought was just plain common sense.
It seems that Senator Rubio agreed that aid to Egypt and Pakistan be cut off or suspended. The sticking point was Libya.
After reading what Senator Rubio had to say on the issue in his Facebook post and watching his address on the floor of the Senate, I am wondering if Senator Paul would have gotten a more positive response from his fellow Senators had he taken Senator Rubio's advice.
I've provided the video and Senator Rubio's remarks posted on Facebook:
Today's Vote On Foreign Aid - By Marco Rubio
In every region of the world, the United States should search for ways to use foreign aid and humanitarian assistance to strengthen our influence, the effectiveness of our leadership, and the service of our national interests and ideals. When done effectively, in partnership with the private sector, with faith-based organizations, and our allies, foreign aid is a cost-effective way, not only to export our values and our example, but to advance our security and economic goals.I will not pretend to be a foreign policy expert by any means. I know that many people over there hate us. Bottom line, America is hurting financially, but there could be instances where offering financial aid would be of benefit to us. In those cases, America must stand on principle and let it be known where we draw the line...without wavering. And as Senator Rubio said..."we must not abandon being smart".
Foreign aid is a foreign policy tool used by the United States to work with other countries. In the case of Libya, Egypt and Pakistan, each receives significant amounts of foreign aid from the U.S. taxpayers, and U.S. citizens expect these countries to meet the conditions we set upon this aid. In the wake of the uprisings across the Muslim world, and the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, it is imperative that the U.S. receive the full cooperation of the host nations in investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the attacks on our diplomatic missions and the deaths of four brave Americans.Senator Rand Paul’s legislation would affect aid for these countries by effectively eliminating it. The American people deserve to be outraged following these attacks. However, the situations in these three countries are very different. In Egypt, the government has the security capabilities to protect our embassy and failed to do so. It was unacceptable that their president didn’t immediately condemn the attacks and instead focused on a YouTube video.In Libya, there was a terrorist attack on our consulate which resulted in the death of four Americans, including the ambassador. The Libyan people rejected Islamists in their recent election, but their pro-Western Libyan government does not have the security capabilities of the Egyptians. So far, the Libyans are trying to do the right thing by working with the U.S. to investigate these attacks and strengthen their own security capabilities. In fact, just yesterday thousands of Libyans fed up with terrorism took matters into their own hands by seizing control of the headquarters of several militias and demanding they be disarmed. Cutting off aid to Libya, who is trying to help us, is not the answer as it would weaken their ability to help us and undermine their efforts to defeat the terrorists in their country. It would also represent America's stunning rejection of what is clearly the Libyan people's will to reject extremists and terrorists trying to lead Libya back to darkness.With Pakistan, I believe we should condition some if not all of the aid on the release of Dr. Afridi. He has been arrested on false charges. The time has finally come for Pakistan to decide if they are going to be a truthful ally of the U.S.Sen. Paul’s legislation lumps in three different countries with three very different situations and I could not support such a measure as drafted. Prior to the vote on this matter I urged Senator Paul to consider, at a minimum, restructuring his amendment to recognize that there are considerable differences between Libya, Egypt and Pakistan. Since no changes were ultimately made, I opposed this measure.
Here's what Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) said:
“The recent developments in Egypt, Libya and Pakistan are clearly a cause for concern. Although this bill was not perfect, it’s important that we send a message to countries receiving U.S. foreign aid that American assistance comes with responsibilities.”
I hope Senator Paul and the conservatives in Congress continue to fight against the wasting of our "borrowed money"...we sure don't have any of our own money to waste. But when there is a "smart" reason to offer financial aid with America's best interests at heart, we must do it with unwavering conditions.
Mitt Romney gave a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting today. He spoke about foreign aid across the globe (with a special mention of the Middle East) and how a Romney Administration would handle it. I thought it was a good addition to the conversation sparked by this post.