House Republicans' bill would redirect Pakistan aid money to US infrastructure

House Republicans' bill would redirect Pakistan aid money to US infrastructure
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Two House Republicans on Monday introduced a bill that would redirect Pakistani aid funds to infrastructure projects in the U.S.

The legislation, introduced by Reps. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware House passes anti-robocall bill MORE (R-Ky.) and Mark SanfordMark SanfordTrump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid Judge throws out lawsuit against South Carolina GOP for canceling 2020 primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE (R-S.C.), would reallocate United States Agency for International Development and State Department funding to the struggling Highway Trust Fund.

“When the American people support other nations, our generosity shouldn’t be used to reward terrorists with U.S. taxpayer dollars,” Sanford said in a statement.

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“Couple this with the fact that the Highway Trust Fund will be $111 billion short by 2026, and it simply makes financial sense to repurpose these funds for our infrastructure.”

Industry groups have for years sounded the alarm over the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for road improvements. Some groups and lawmakers have suggested an increase to the federal gas tax to keep it afloat. Money from the 18.4-cent tax goes into the fund, but that levy has not been raised since 1993, eroding its purchasing power over time.

Sanford and Massie, both members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, cited concerns over Pakistan’s relationship with terrorists in explaining their bill.

“This common-sense bill puts America first by reallocating tax dollars to our roads and bridges at home instead of funneling money overseas,” said Massie.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon to take bigger role in vetting foreign students after Pensacola shooting Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Rand Paul: 'We need to re-examine' US-Saudi relationship after Florida shooting MORE (R-Ky.) introduced a companion bill in the upper chamber last month and referenced similar worries about terrorism.

“Let’s bring that money home and use it to help rebuild our infrastructure instead of giving it to a nation that persecutes Christians and imprisons people such as the doctor that helped us get Osama bin Laden,” Paul said in January of his legislation.

Paul at the time estimated the funds would amount to approximately $2 billion.

The lawmakers’ push comes as the Trump administration prepares an infrastructure package meant to overhaul U.S. roads, bridges, airports and other public works. 

The White House planned to unveil its infrastructure package in January, but that release has been delayed. A White House official last week blamed the government shutdown for the postponement, adding that the proposal would come “in the next few weeks.”

The president during his annual State of the Union address last week called on Congress to craft an infrastructure plan of "at least" $1.5 trillion.