The House voted to cut U.S. aid to Pakistan by $650 billion in the defense appropriations bill Wednesday night in the latest jab at Pakistan by Congress.
The amendment to cut aid by $650 million, proposed by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), passed on the floor in a voice vote. Initially, Poe had proposed cutting the aid by $1.3 billion, but he withdrew that amendment and agreed upon half the amount.
“Pakistan seems to be the Benedict Arnold nation in the list of countries that we call allies,” Poe said on the floor. “They have proven to be deceptive and deceitful and a danger to the United States.”
Poe’s amendment passed during consideration Wednesday evening of the $608 billion defense appropriations bill, where debate on amendments continues Thursday.
Islamabad and Washington have had a tenuous relationship the past two years, after Pakistan shut down supply lines into Afghanistan for seven months.
There are still many contentious issues between the two countries, among them U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the fate of a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden and was sentenced to 33 years in jail. The two sides also blame one another for allowing militant groups to easily cross the Afghan-Pakistan border to launch attacks.
The issue of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi could further imperil U.S. aid to Pakistan, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he has enough votes in the Senate to end all aid to Pakistan.
“If Dr. Afridi is still in jail next week, I will force this vote,” Paul said on the floor Tuesday morning