Sen. Paul Floor Speech on Amendment to Veterans Jobs Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Sen. Rand Paul spoke on the Senate floor to announce a new version of his amendments to the Veteran Jobs bill that would strip foreign aid from Pakistan, Egypt and Libya, and send that money toward the veterans jobs bill programs and reducing the deficit.
Total U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt totals roughly $4 billion per year. Sen. Paul's new amendment will 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.
Below is video and transcript of Sen. Paul's floor appearance this afternoon:
Last evening I had a spirited exchange with the Majority Leader, and the exchange is over whether we should send billions of dollars - billions of dollars we technically don't even have - to foreign countries that disrespect us, foreign countries who have tortured people who are friends of America.
In Pakistan, a Dr. Shakil Afridi helped us to get bin Laden. He's been tortured, kept in prison and now been given a life sentence. I've asked one simple thing. I would like to have 15 minutes, have a discussion and have a vote on whether or not we should continue to send money to Pakistan. I've said we should send not one penny to Pakistan until this doctor is released.
We offered at one time a $50 million reward for helping getting bin Laden. Young men and women sacrificed their limbs to go to Afghanistan. Many sacrificed their lives to go to Pakistan to get bin Laden.
And this man who helped get bin Laden, we're now letting him rot in a prison. We're now letting this man spend the rest of his life in prison. And do you know what this administration did?
About a month ago they gave Pakistan $1 billion more. Do you know how Pakistan
The head of the security agency for Pakistan said very snidely and with a great deal of arrogance, "come back and talk to us in ten years about Dr. Afridi." They're going to keep him in prison for the rest of his life if he's not killed. His life has been threatened. Other prisoners and the public have threatened his family's life.
Is this how we treat a friend of America? I've asked for 15 minutes to have a vote. Why don't they want to have a vote?
Because they know the American people are with me. If you ask questions, should we send money to countries that don't like us and disrespect us? Eighty percent to 90 percent of the American people are with me on this. They're afraid to vote on this issue personally. I've been giving them a chance to debate this for six weeks.
We spent the whole week not having a debate because they don't want to have a vote because they know if they vote their position, which is to send your money to Pakistan and to Egypt and to Libya, that the American people won't like it.
So they're not willing to stand up in the broad daylight and vote to continue this aid. They just don't want to have the vote.
Now last evening, the Majority Leader said that his concern is over the veterans benefits bill. I also am concerned, and so I've reconsidered my amendment. My amendment before would just return the money to the Treasury and to counteract the debt. We would take the, somewhere between $3 billion and $4 billion and send it back to the Treasury.
But if what's holding this up is that the Majority Leader thinks that this is not in any way connected to veterans' benefits, why don't we take half of the $4 billion that we wouldn't send to Pakistan, let's take half of that and put it into veterans' benefits.
I'm willing to triple the size of the veterans benefits bill if we'll take the money from an area where we shouldn't be spending it. Some will stand up and they will argue, "Well gosh, we have to be engaged with Pakistan because they have nuclear weapons."
I'm not saying disengage. I'm saying you don't have to bribe people to be your friend. We don't have the money anyway. We have to borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.
I'm not saying don't have relations with Pakistan. Many in Pakistan have been sympathetic to our country. Many in Pakistan have helped our country. But many in Pakistan with a wink and a nod look at us, take our money and laugh at us. They cash our check and they laugh at us.
The American people are tired of this. Our Treasury is bare. There are a multitude of reasons why we should not continue to send good money after bad.
Compound that with the tragedy that has occurred over the last couple of days, the tragedy of our ambassador being assassinated in Libya and three of his fellow workers killed. The tragedy of our embassy being attacked in Egypt.
We give Egypt $3 billion a year and you know what? Egypt can't protect or won't protect our embassy. There was a phone call to the embassy from someone from Egypt saying the mob's coming.
Well, a phone call is not enough. Do you think they could have sent soldiers and tanks to protect our Embassy? They extend us a phone call saying the mob's coming. Well, Egypt needs to act like our ally if they want to continue to cash our checks.
My position is not one penny more for Libya or Egypt or Pakistan until they act like our allies. Some say we've got to keep sending it. Fine. Let's send it when they act like our allies. Let's send it when they start behaving like civilized nations and come to their senses.
So I have an amendment, and I am going to ask unanimous consent to bring this amendment forward. I may be surprised, but I think the other side is going to object.
What I would asking for is 15 minutes of the Senate's time to vote on ending this aid and taking half of the $4 billion that we're squandering overseas, giving it to people who don't like us, take half of that aid and put it towards the deficit and take half of that aid and put it into Veterans Benefits.
So if we're really talking about veterans benefits here, if we're really serious about providing money for the veterans, let's take it from an area which is insulting to veterans.
Let's take it from a country that insults every veteran in this country. A country Pakistan, who our men and women gave their lives to fight a war in Afghanistan and in neighboring Pakistan to get the chief architect of 9/11 -- bin Laden.
Let's memorialize those people who sacrificed their lives and the veterans by saying we're not going to give money to a country that disrespects and disavows everything we've done over the last ten years to combat terrorism.
So I ask unanimous consent that we resume consideration of S. 3457, set aside the pending amendment and call up my Amendment 2838.