Angry lawmakers cut 650 million dollar U.S. aid to Pakistan
The U.S. House has agreed to a 650 million dollar cut from Pakistani military aid with the intention of reducing the country’s funds by half, as Republicans sought to press for further reductions because of conservative anger at the Pakistan government.
Representative Ted Poe had demanded a 1.3 billion dollar cut, but later settled for the 650 million dollar cut. Representative Norman Dicks, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, appeared to agree to the compromise, since it was approved by a voice vote, reports Politico.
“It is time for a new strategy with Pakistan…More money is not going to solve the problem. … Pakistan is playing America,” said Poe, who described Pakistan as “Benedict Arnold”- the famous turncoat.
The step was not reassuring for the Obama administration as it tries to rebuild relations with Pakistan, especially after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent efforts to bridge the gap with the country, the report said.
The action came as the House took up the underlying bill, a 608.2 billion dollar defense appropriations measure for the coming year, including 88.2 billion dollar in emergency funds for overseas contingency operations, chiefly in the Afghanistan and Pakistan theatre.
In addition to the 650 million dollar for Pakistan, the House voted 228-191 to separately take 175 million dollars from infrastructure funds to assist Afghanistan.