Sen. Paul Warns Leaders He Has Backing to Force Vote on Pakistan Aid Freeze
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) warned Senate leaders -- and even the Obama administration -- today that he has enough signatures on a cloture petition to force a vote on cutting aid to Pakistan.
Pending the outcome of the appeal trial of Dr. Shakil Afridi, the U.S. informant facing 33 years in prison for helping the hunt to Osama bin Laden, Paul is prepared to call for a vote on his measure as early as July 20.
"I have worked consistently to bring awareness to Dr. Afridi’s plight, and I have offered legislation to deny any current or future foreign assistance to the Pakistani government until they reverse course and free Dr. Afridi," Paul wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), cc'ing President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman.
"This legislation would deny Pakistan tens of billions of dollars in foreign assistance into the future if Dr. Afridi is not freed—extending through the duration of his 33-year prison sentence, if necessary," Paul said.
"I look forward to working with you to ensure that Dr. Afridi’s situation is addressed without delay, and I would like to work with you to set an agreeable time for consideration of my legislation, should Dr. Afridi remain in prison."
Lawmakers had previously sought a cut in aid when Pakistan closed a key NATO supply route into Afghanistan. That was reopened, however, when the U.S. government apologized for the air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the border last November.