Senate Passes Big Pakistan Aid Bill
After months of negotiations over the summer between the House, the Senate and the Obama administration, the Senate has passed a bill to triple non-military aid to Pakistan. The bill, upping civilian foreign aid to the Pakistanis to $7.5 billion over five years, was hailed by its Senate authors, John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in a joint statement. Kerry:
This Act represents a collaboration between both Democrats and Republicans, in both Senate and the House, to forge a new long-term relationship between the people of America and Pakistan. The fact that President Obama was able to announce this at the United Nations sends an important message to Pakistan and the world of our strengthened commitment to this relationship.
We should make clear to the people of Pakistan that our interests are focused on democracy, pluralism, stability, and the fight against terrorism. These are values supported by a large majority of the Pakistani people. If Pakistan is to break its debilitating cycle of instability, it will need to achieve progress on fighting corruption, delivering government services, and promoting broad based economic growth. The international community and the United States should support reforms that contribute to the strengthening of Pakistani civilian institutions.
Lynne Weil, a spokeswoman for Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who wrote the House counterpart in his foreign-affairs committee, says, “The chairman hopes to introduce the [counterpart] legislation soon,” but couldn’t give an exact date for when the House bill drops.