September 19, 2012

International Affairs Budget Update, 9-19-12

With the Senate working to wrap up its work this week and adjourn until after the November election, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is pushing to secure a vote on his amendment to cut U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya and any country that fails to secure American embassies.  Senator Paul, like his father Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), has been a longtime opponent of foreign assistance.

Senator Paul’s latest amendment builds on efforts he began earlier this year to cut aid to Pakistan until the Pakistani government releases Dr. Shakil Afirdi – the Pakistani doctor who has been imprisoned for allegedly helping the U.S. locate and kill Osama bin Laden.  Paul’s calls for cutting off aid have been strongly criticized by both Republicans and Democrats, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who called it “a very bad idea.”

Late yesterday Senator Paul released a “Dear Colleague” letter urging his colleagues to join him in his efforts to cut foreign assistance to these three countries and any country that fails to secure our embassies.  He has committed to filibustering the FY13 Continuing Resolution until the Senate acts on his amendment.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been using procedural motions to block Senator Paul’s previous efforts, and indications from senior Hill staff are that Senator Reid will continue to do the same in regard to the Continuing Resolution.  Even though it is unlikely Senator Paul’s amendments will come up for a vote, the next few days may well see more Senate speeches and debate focused on foreign assistance.

We are monitoring the Senate floor and schedule closely and will keep you updated as soon as there are important developments regarding Senator Paul’s efforts.