Sen. Paul Prepared to Demand Vote on Cutting Aid to Pakistan
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor this morning announcing his intention to force a Senate vote that, if passed, would strip Pakistan of all U.S. foreign aid until Dr. Shakil Afridi's recent 33-year prison sentence is overturned and he is allowed to leave Pakistan. Dr. Afridi's appellate hearing is scheduled for Thursday, July 19.
Last month, Sen. Paul sent a letter to President Obama urging a delay in the release U.S. financial aid to the government of Pakistan, and to hold all aid until Dr. Afridi is released. He also has introduced legislation, S.3269, which calls for the same action.
Below is video and transcript of Sen. Paul's floor appearance today:
Mr. President, I'm not a big fan of foreign aid. We have a lot of problems in our country and I just don't see how we can send billions of dollars overseas when we've got bridges that are falling down in our country.
The question remains should taxpayers are forced to send money overseas to countries that disrespect us or more precisely should we borrow money from china to send it to countries who disrespect us? Should we borrow money from china to send to Pakistan? Should we borrow money to send to the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt? Should we send good money after bad? For a decade we searched for bin Laden. We spent hundreds of billions of dollars searching for him. Where did we find him?
Not in the remote mountains. We found him living comfortably in the city in Pakistan. We found him living in the middle of this city not far from a military academy. We were helped in this search by a doctor, a brave doctor in Pakistan by the name of Dr. Shakil Afridi helped us to find bin Laden, helped us with ultimately getting bin Laden. How was he rewarded for this heroism? Where is Dr. Shakil Afridi now? He's been imprisoned by the Pakistani government for 33 years.
So for ten years we searched for bin Laden high and low throughout Afghanistan, throughout the world, throughout the mountains. We found him living comfortably in a city only miles from a military academy, and then the doctor who helped us, Pakistan has now imprisoned this doctor for 33 years. So how did the President respond to this? How did President Obama's Administration respond to the imprisoning of this doctor, the doctor who helped us get bin Laden?
President Obama sent them another billion dollars last week. We already send Pakistan $2 billion and they disrespect us, so what did we do? We send them another billion dollars. People around this town are bemoaning there's not enough money for our military yet we took a billion dollars out of the Defense Department and - an extra billion and sent it to Pakistan last week.
Where is Dr. Afridi? In jail for 33 years. I've obtained the signatures necessary to have a vote on this. The leadership doesn't want to allow a vote on this, but I will one way or another get a vote on ending aid to Pakistan if they continue to imprison this doctor. He has an appeal that will be heard this Thursday. If he's not successful in his appeal, if he is still in prison for life, we will have a vote in the Senate on ending all aid to Pakistan. Not a small portion of their aid. Every penny of their aid, including the billion they got last week. We will attempt to stop all aid to Pakistan, and I ask any of the Senators here, step forward if you think it's a good idea and tell the American people why you're sending their money to Pakistan. We've got bridges crumbling. We've got roads crumbling. We have schools crumbling in our country and we're sending money to Pakistan, a country that disrespects us. We spent billions if not maybe trillions of dollars on the war in Pakistan and Afghanistan trying to get bin Laden. And then the doctor who helps us is now in jail for 33 years.
In our state - Kentucky - we have two bridges that need to be replaced. We have one that was closed down for six months last year in repairs, in the middle of one of our major cities. We don't have the money to repair our infrastructure. We're a trillion dollars short of money, period. We're borrowing over a trillion dollars a year. We now have a $16 trillion debt that equals our entire economy, and yet they're still sending your money to dictators overseas who disrespect us. Eighty percent of the public thinks that this should come to an end. If you ask this question, should we be sending this money overseas when we have difficulty and needs and wants at home? Eighty percent of the public will say it should end and yet when you force this body to vote, 80 percent of your representatives are for sending more aid overseas. They're all clamoring and clapping their hands. Last week when President Obama said he sent them another billion dollars overseas, they all stand up and clap.
I don't think the American taxpayer is clapping. I don't think the American taxpayer is happy we're a trillion dollars in the whole and still sending money overseas to countries that disrespect us. What I say to Pakistan is if you want to be our ally, act like it. If you want to be our ally, respect us. If you want to be our ally, work with us on the war on terrorism. But if you want to be our ally, don't hold Dr. Afridi, don't hold political prisoners, don't hold people who actually are working
with us to get bin Laden. I will do everything within my power to have this vote. They don't want to have this vote. They make foreign aid up here. they love sending your money overseas but they don't want to vote on it so they've been blocking this vote and they will attempt to block this vote but I have the signatures necessary and you will see me on the floor next week if Dr. Afridi is still in jail next week, I will make them vote on this because it's the least you deserve, the taxpayers deserve to know why are your Senators voting to send your money overseas when we're a trillion dollars in the hole.
Why are your Senators voting to send billions of dollars to Pakistan when they imprison the guy who helped us get bin Laden. This is unconscionable. It has to stop. The debt is a threat to our country; it's a threat to the republic. and I will do everything I can to force a vote on this then the American people can decide, if you want to keep sending these people back to Washington who are sending your money overseas to people who have no respect for us.
So I will do everything in my power to have to this vote and we will record the senate, your representatives will be recorded on whether or not they want to continue to send your money to Pakistan while Pakistan imprisons this doctor who tend us get bin Laden.
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield back the remainder of my time.