Friday, September 14, 2012

Senator Rand Paul: "Our System of Foreign Aid Is Broken"

After being denied debate and a U.S. Senate floor vote by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) this week on whether to end foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt, and Libya, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) released a YouTube video titled "Our System of Foreign Aid is Broken."

Initially, Paul had requested to end U.S. aid to the government of Pakistan for their detainment of Dr. Shakil Afridi who reportedly helped the U.S. find and kill Osama bin Laden.  But the amendment was later changed to strip foreign aid from Egypt and Libya in light of recent aggression toward American consulates and embassies in those countries.


Following a discussion on the Senate floor last Wednesday night with Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), during which Sen. Reid expressed his desire to quickly pass the $1 billion jobs bill for veterans, Sen. Paul then decided to alter his amendment to offer additional funding to the veterans job bill.


Total U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt totals roughly $4 billion per year. Sen. Paul's new amendment would strike all aid to those countries, and send an additional $2 billion toward the veterans jobs bill, tripling the size of the program. The remaining $2 billion would go to deficit reduction.


"I urge Sen. Reid 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'" Paul said. "He can do all of this by allowing a vote on my amendment. My amendment would halt all foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt, and Libya, and would use those funds to triple the size of the veterans jobs bill. The only thing now standing in the way of this is the Democratic Senate Leadership." 


"Each year 200,000 service members reenter the civilian workforce. The Veterans Jobs Corps Act would invest in those returning veterans – easing the transition back to civilian life with job training programs and priority hiring for first responder positions," Reid said in a release.  "Not only has this bill faced a string of procedural hurdles, Republicans have larded it up with unrelated, ideological amendments.  And while some of those amendments are certainly important, they don’t belong on any jobs measure, let alone a jobs measure that would assist returning veterans."


Although falling short of calling for an end to foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed concern over the Egyptian response when asked by a Florida constituent whether Rubio would call for an end to foreign aid to those countries. 


“What really troubled me is that for 24 hours after that attack, and the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Libya, we heard virtually nothing from the president, President Morsi of Egypt. Instead he focused on condemning a YouTube video, a YouTube video that anyone can make. At the end of the day, the response to a YouTube video that someone is offended by is not to burn down an embassy or murder an ambassador," Rubio said in a YouTube video.


"And the response of President Morsi was not to express outrage about that, but instead to ask his embassy here in the United States of America to sue the makers of the YouTube video. It is very troubling, quite frankly unacceptable, that the leader of a country that receives as much aid as Egypt receives from us would take so long to express any sort of outrage or condemnation on what’s occurred and focused the almost entire majority of his attention on a YouTube video instead of condemning violence that ultimately led to the death of four American diplomats overseas."