September 24, 2009

Senate Unanimously Passes Legislation To Increase Nonmilitary Aid To Pakistan

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Dick Lugar (R-IN) welcomed passage by the United State Senate of a revised version of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, which will triple non-military aid Pakistan. The bill, S. 1707, updates and builds uponthe earlier S. 962 passed by the Senate in June.

Senator Kerry said, "Today, by unanimous consent, the Senate passed S.1707, the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009. This Act represents a collaboration between both Democrats and Republicans, in both Senate and the House, to forge a new long-term relationship between the people of America and Pakistan.The fact that President Obama was able to announce this at the United Nations sends an important message to Pakistan and the world of our strengthened commitment to this relationship.

"The fundamentals of the bill are precisely those enshrined in the version passed by the Senate in June: Tripling of non-military aid to $1.5 billion per year, for each of the next five years— with a Congressional recommendation that this commitment to roads, schools, and other projects directly benefiting the Pakistani people be continued for an additional half-decade. The clear, tough-minded accountability standards and metrics contained in the original bill are carried through in this version. The legislation passed today incorporates House language compatible with the intent of the original bill, and is the product of two months of bicameral, bipartisan, and inter-branch consultation.

"I am delighted by the action of my colleagues today—and by the unanimity displayed in the Senate vote. This landmark piece of legislation is the product of careful consultation between both Chambers, and both sides of the aisle: I salute my friends Dick Lugar and Howard Berman for their leadership. It is my hope and expectation that the House will pass this bill speedily, so that the President can sign it into law without delay."

Senator Lugar said, "The United States has an intense strategic interest in Pakistan and the surrounding region. The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate last year painted a bleak picture of the converging crises in Pakistan. A growing al-Qaeda sanctuary, an expanding Taliban insurgency, political brinksmanship, and a failing economy are intensifying turmoil and violence in that country. These circumstances are a threat to Pakistan, the region, and the United States.

"We should make clear to the people of Pakistan that our interests are focused on democracy, pluralism, stability, and the fight against terrorism. These are values supported by a large majority of the Pakistani people. If Pakistan is to break its debilitating cycle of instability, it will need to achieve progress on fighting corruption, delivering government services, and promoting broad based economic growth. The international community and the United States should support reforms that contribute to the strengthening of Pakistani civilian institutions."

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