House Passes Pakistan Funding Bill
I’m still at the Center for a New American Security conference, listening to the North Korea panel, but apropros of this morning’s discussions about Afghanistan and Pakistan: the House today passed Rep. Howard Berman’s (D-Calif.) Pakistan providing $1.5 billion of annual non-military aid.
The bill, however, continues to authorize military funding for Pakistan, and keeps accountability requirements on the use of those funds which Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy (a co-founder of CNAS) has criticized as “too inflexible.” From a statement from Berman’s office:
H.R. 1886 authorizes military assistance to help Pakistan disrupt and defeat al Qaeda and insurgent elements, and requires that the vast majority of such assistance be focused on critical counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts. In addition, the bill requires that all military assistance flow through the democratically elected Government of Pakistan. Finally, the legislation includes accountability measures for military assistance, including a requirement that the Government of Pakistan has demonstrated a sustained commitment to combating terrorist groups and has made progress towards that end.
“We fully appreciate the urgency of the situation in Pakistan, and the need for appropriate flexibility,” Berman said. “We are simply asking Pakistan to follow through with the commitments it has already made. And in the process, we lay down an important marker that Congress will no longer provide a ‘blank check.’”
Is his primary audience there the Pakistanis or the White House?