By Ramsey Cox
Paul is filibustering the Senate until he gets a vote on his bill to end aid to Pakistan, which now also names Egypt and Libya as countries that “don’t act like allies” and therefore don’t deserve U.S. aid.
His filibuster forces the maximum time on each pending piece of legislation, delaying votes — including on the Veterans Job Corp Act — until he gets his way.
Paul said leadership won’t allow a vote on his bill because they’re afraid to go on the record. He said he believes the American people stand with him.
“They know if they vote their position, which is to send your money to Pakistan and Egypt and Libya, that the American people will see,” Paul said.
He added that America could always return the money once those countries start acting “civilized.”
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed this week in Libya in a violent attack on the U.S. Consulate, and protestors stormed the U.S. embassy in Egypt.
“They cash our check and they laugh at us,” Paul said.
But Kerry said cutting off foreign aid to those countries would dishonor the memory of Stevens and the others killed.
“Cutting the aid to any of these countries in this way and this fashion is not a way to honor Chris Stevens,” Kerry said. “The senator from Kentucky might be really surprised to know that the Libyan people are grateful to the U.S. and are mourning the deaths of our people.”
Kerry then continued to cut down Paul’s idea, asking if he’d even ever been to Pakistan or Egypt. Paul refused to answer, Kerry took that as a no.
Paul said he only needed 15 minutes for a vote on his idea. Kerry said it would be irresponsible to change major foreign policy that affects four countries in just 15 minutes and suggested that his committee, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, have a hearing on Paul’s bill.
“First of all it deserves more than 15 minutes,” Kerry said. “Second, it’s not appropriate to put it in a veterans bill that is desperately needed.”
Some House Republican also called for stopping foreign aid to Libya and Egypt after the tragic events this week. Shortly after the House members introduced that idea, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) came to the floor calling it a terrible idea that would stop growing democracies in a region where the United States desperately needs allies.
Paul has been trying to end aid to Pakistan for months because the country arrested a doctor who aided the CIA in locating Osama bin Laden.