By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized the idea of all U.S. foreign aid without conditions and said the aid is the very reason so many in Middle Eastern countries hate America.
Paul, speaking on the floor Friday, said the people of the Middle East hate the United States because they saw U.S. foreign aid prop up their dictators.
“[The hatred] has come because largely our foreign aid have been given to despots throughout the Middle East,” Paul said. “If we don’t understand this we’re never going to figure out a way to make things better.”
Paul wants a Senate vote on his bill to put conditions on foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt until they “start acting like real allies.”
“All I’m asking is if you want to be our ally than act like it,” Paul said. “If you want to cash an American check than act like an ally.”
Paul’s original bill ended foreign aid just to Pakistan because they arrested Dr. Shakil Afridi, who assisted the United States in finding and killing Osama bin Laden. His bill would also require Pakistan to release Afridi in order to receive any aid. But after the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Egypt and killings of Americans in Libya, Paul added them to his bill. Those two countries would have to promise to protect the Americans embassies there.
Paul criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for asking Congress this week for more aid to countries, such as Egypt.
“Hillary Clinton is here today asking for more money,” Paul said. “While protesters storm our embassy and burn our flag, she’s asking for us to send more money to Egypt.”
Paul said at the very least a country that gets aid from the United States should protect the American embassy there.
“At a very minimum if you’re going to cash our check then at the very least it should have strings attached saying you have to protect our embassy,” Paul said.
Paul said his colleagues don’t want to have a vote on his bill because they know the American people agree with him.
“Some think the answer is to send them more, maybe they’ll act better if they get more of your money,” Paul said. “They don’t want to vote on this because they know they’re voting against the will of their constituents,” Paul said.
Paul also made the point that the United States shouldn’t be sending money overseas when the deficit stands at $16 trillion.
Reid had said earlier this week that he would allow a vote on Paul’s bill in exchange for votes on the continuous spending resolution — H.J.Res. 117 — and a sportsman bill. Republicans have agreed to the six-month spending resolution, but not the Sportsman Act.
If an agreement isn’t reached, Paul’s bill likely won’t get a vote and the Senate will work through the weekend to pass just the spending resolution that the House passed last week.