WASHINGTON, D.C. – By invoking the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, U.S. Senator Rand Paul forced a vote today in the Senate on S.J.Res.31, a joint resolution of disapproval to halt U.S. arms sales to the government of Pakistan. Prior to the vote, Sen. Paul delivered remarks urging his colleagues to support the joint resolution of disapproval, which would have stopped the sale of 8 F-16s and additional technical gear to the Pakistani government.
24-71 voted in support of Pakistan not receiving F-16s.
“The U.S. and Pakistani relationship has been a troubled one. Though the government of Pakistan has been considered America’s ally in the fight on terrorism, Pakistan’s behavior would suggest otherwise. While we give them billions of dollars in aid, we are simultaneously aware of their intelligence and military apparatus assisting the Afghan Taliban,” said Sen. Paul.
“In addition to Pakistan’s duplicitous nature, it also has a deplorable human rights record. Pakistan often isolates and unjustly jails religious minorities and Christians to include Pakistani Christian Asa Bibi. Only after an international outcry did Pakistan commutes Asa Bibi’s death sentence. In addition to Pakistan’s support of terrorism and deplorable human rights record, it continues to imprison Dr. Shakil Afridi, who helped the U.S. locate and kill Osama Bin Laden,” Sen. Paul continued.
Click HERE to read the joint resolution of disapproval in its entirety.
The video and transcript of Sen. Paul’s remarks can be found below.
Sen. Paul: Pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, I move to discharge the Foreign Relations Committee from further consideration of S. J. Resolution 31 relating to the disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the government of Pakistan.
Presiding Officer: The motion is debatable for up to one hour.
Sen. Paul: Madam President, I rise in opposition to the American taxpayers being forced to pay for fighter jets for Pakistan. Over $300 million from the American taxpayer will be designated to go to Pakistan to pay for eight new F-16s for Pakistan.
We’ve got a lot of problems here in our country, my friends. We’ve got a lot of things going on in our country that need to be taken care of, and we don’t have enough money to be sending it to Pakistan. I can’t in good conscience look away as America crumbles at home and politicians tax us to send the money to corrupt and duplicitous regimes abroad.
When I travel across Kentucky and I see the look of despair in the eyes of out of work coal miners, when I see the anguish in the faces of those who live in constant poverty, I wonder why the establishment of both parties continues to send our money overseas to countries that take our money, take our arms and laugh in our face.
We’ve given $15 billion to Pakistan, $15 billion over the last decade. And yet their previous president admits that Pakistan armed, aided, and abetted the Taliban. You remember the Taliban in Afghanistan that harbored and hosted bin Laden for a decade? Pakistan helped them. Pakistan was one of only two countries that recognized the Taliban.
Why in the world would we be taxing the American people to send this money to Pakistan? You remember when bin Laden escaped? We chased him and he escaped. Where did he go? To Pakistan. He lived for a decade in Pakistan. Where? About a mile away from their military academy. Somehow they missed him there in a 15-foot high walled compound, bin Laden stayed in Pakistan while we funnel billions upon billions of dollars to them.
Pakistan to this day is said to look away, to not look at the Haqqani network. In fact, it is accused that many members of their government are complicit with the Haqqani network. Who is the Haqqani network? It’s a network of terrorists that kill Americans. We have American soldiers dying at the hands of Pakistani terrorists that the government looks the other way.
General John F. Campbell testified to Congress that the Haqqani network remains the most capable threat to U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, and yet you are asked to send F-16s and good money after bad to a government in Pakistan that looks the other way.
Pakistan is at best a frenemy, part friend and a lot enemy. If Pakistan truly wants to be our ally, if Pakistan truly wants to help in the war on radical Islam, it should not require a bribe. It should not require the American taxpayer to subsidize arms sales. They already have 70 F-16s. They’ve got an air force of F-16s. What what would happen if we didn’t send them eight more that we’re being asked to pay for? Maybe they’d listen. Maybe they would help us. Maybe they would be an honest broker in the fight against terrorism.
We are $19 trillion in debt. We borrow a million dollars a minute. We don’t have any money to send to Pakistan to bribe them to buy planes from us. We don’t have the money. We have problems at home. Our infrastructure crumbles at home. We have longstanding poverty at home. We’ve got problems in America. And we don’t have money to borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.
In my state, in Kentucky, we have a dozen counties with unemployment nearly double the national rate. In Magoffin county, Kentucky, 12.5% of people are out of work. Those who today will vote to send money to Pakistan need to come with me to Kentucky and they need to come to Magoffin county and they need to look people in the face who are out of work in America and explain to them why we should send money to Pakistan.
We’ve got people hurting here at home. In Harlan county, the President’s war on coal has led to long-standing, double-digit unemployment. In Harlan, Kentucky, people are out of work. People live in poverty, and they don’t understand why Congress is sending money to Pakistan.
In Leslie county, high unemployment prompts their citizens to ask, “why is the government spending billions of dollars for advanced fighter jets for foreigners?” They don’t understand it. They can’t understand, when they live from day to day, why the government is sending money to Pakistan.
As I travel Kentucky, I ask my constituents, should America send money and arms to a country that persecutes Christians? I’ve yet to meet a single voter who wants their tax dollars going to countries that persecute Christians.
In Pakistan, it is in their constitution that if you criticize the state religion, you can be put to death. Asia Bibi has been on death row for nearly five years. Asia Bibi is a Christian. Her crime: She went to the well to draw water, and the villagers began to stone her. They beat her with sticks until she was bleeding. They continued to stone her, as they chanted “Death! Death to the Christian!” The police finally arrived, and she thought she’d been saved, only to be arrested by the Pakistani police, and there she sits on death row for five years.
Is it an ally, is it a civilized nation that puts Christians to death for criticizing the state religion? I defy any member of this body, go home, talk to the first voter, go outside the beltway, leave Congress and drive outside the beltway and stop at the first gas station, stop at the first grocery store and ask anybody, Republican, Democrat, Independent, you ask anybody, should we be sending money to a country that persecutes Christians?
Asia Bibi sits on death row for criticizing the state religion, and your money goes to support her government. What will happen to Pakistan if they don’t get eight more F-16s. They’ll only have 70 F-16s. Most of the politicians here simply don’t care. They don’t care whether Pakistan persecutes Christians. They only know one way. The one way is to open our wallet and bleed us dry and hope that someday Pakistan will change its behavior.
Well, guess what? If you’re not strong enough to vote for this resolution, if you think that some kind of cajoling and flattery and nice talk with empty words is going to change the behavior of Pakistan, you’ve got another thing coming. It’s been going on for decades.
When I forced a vote in the Foreign Relations Committee the to say that countries that put Christians to death for criticizing the state religion – there’s about 34 of these countries, a couple dozen of them who receive money from us, American tax dollars going to countries that persecute Christians – when I introduced the amendment to say, guess what? Let’s not do it anymore. Any country that has a law that compels a Christian and puts a Christian to death, that country would no longer receive our money.
You know what the vote was? 18-2 from Washington politicians that keep sending good money after bad, because they say, oh, the moderates there are going to change their minds someday. Well, after they bleed us dry, we’ve given them $15 billion, and I have seen no evidence of a change of behavior.
Insolence, arrogance, and people who laugh as they cash our check. Is Pakistan our ally in the war on terror? Well, not only did they help the Taliban that hosted bin Laden for a decade, when finally got bin Laden, we got him with evidence that was given to us by a doctor in Afghanistan. Where is he now? Pakistan has locked him away in a dark, dank prison from which he will probably never arrive out of, from which he will probably never be released.
Shakil Afridi has essentially been given a life sentence by Pakistan for the crime of helping the United States and helping all civilized nations get to bin Laden. He sat under the noses of the Pakistani government for a decade. We finally got him when Shakil Afridi helped us. People aren’t going to continue to help America if we don’t help them, if we don’t protect our human intelligence, if we don’t protect those who are willing to help America. He sits and rots in a prison.
What message do we send to Pakistan if we send them eight more F-16s and we tell you, the American taxpayer, you’re paying for it? What message does that send to Pakistan? The message is Pakistan is, we’ll just keep thumbing our nose to America. And we’ve laugh all the way to the bank as we do nothing to release the Christians on death row or to release the doctor who helped us.
Should we give planes to a country that imprisons these heroes, heroes who helped and put their life on the line? Today we will vote on whether the American people should foot the bill. I have yet to meet a voter in my state of Kentucky or across America that thinks it’s a good idea to send more money to Pakistan.
We have a $19 trillion debt. We borrower $1 million a minute. We have no money. It’s not even a surplus. They say, oh, we’re going to influence Pakistan. Or they may rise up. The revolution won’t stop the money. The heck it won’t. If my resolution becomes law, the eight jets will not go to Pakistan and be subsidized and not one penny of American tax dollars will go to Pakistan.
We have to borrow money from China to send it to Pakistan. Such a policy is insane and supported by no one outside of Washington. You go anywhere in America and ask them, should we give money, should the taxpayer be forced to give money to Pakistan, a country that persecutes Christians, nobody is for it.
And yet the vast and out-of-touch establishment in Washington continues to do it. Is it any wonder people are unhappy with Washington? Is it any wonder that Americans are sick and tired of the status quo? Sick and tired of people not listening to them.
We have no money in the treasury. We are all out of money. This influences nothing other than to tell the Pakistanis they can continue doing what they want.
I urge my colleagues to vote against subsidized sales of fighter jets to Pakistan, and I reserve the remainder of my time.