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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ros-Lehtinen foreign aid restrictions barely make it out of committee

With a $14.5 trillion deficit and the country mired in a deep, double dip recession (which has looked more like a prolonged single dip), you would think that there would be better uses for American funds than supporting the likes of the 'Palestinian Authority,' revolutionary Egypt and Pakistan. Well, Congress agrees with you, writes Liz Berney, but just barely.
The Republican Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, recently introduced H.R. 2583, “The Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2012,” which seeks to de-fund U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority unless these regimes meet certain critical conditions, including the following:

• Further aid to Pakistan would be conditioned on Pakistan: assisting “investigating the existence of an official or unofficial support network in Pakistan for Osama bin Laden,” including access to bin Laden’s relatives and former compound in Abottabad; facilitating visas to U.S. citizens engaged in counterterrorism efforts; and complying with existing strategic assistance requirements to cooperate with the war on terror. (H.R. 2583, Section 982)

• Lebanon would not receive further aid if a member of Hezbollah (or other terrorist organization) serves in any government policy position. Hezbollah currently dominates the Lebanese cabinet; thus Lebanon would need to change this to receive further U.S. aid. The proposed law would also require the Lebanese government: to comply with the Special Tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; to dismantle foreign terrorist organization infrastructure; and to engage in anti-terrorism vetting and tracking of Lebanon’s security forces benefitting from U.S. assistance. (Section 962) These are all eminently reasonable conditions. We should not be funding a government dominated by the very same Hezbollah terrorist organization that perpetrated terrorist attacks which killed hundreds of U.S. marines, and that is now pointing 45,000 missiles at Israel.

• Further aid to the Palestinian Authority would be conditioned on: the PA finally terminating its anti-Israel incitement in the media, schools, mosques and other government-controlled institutions; no member of Hamas or other foreign terrorist organization serving in any government policy position; the PA finally meeting its obligations to dismantle foreign terrorist infrastructure, confiscate unauthorized weapons, pre-empt terrorist attacks and fully cooperate with Israeli security services; the PA’s recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; and anti-terrorism vetting and tracking of security services benefitting from U.S. assistance. (Section 971) These are also eminently reasonable conditions. U.S. foreign aid should not be sent to terrorists or to governments that incite terrorism or break their agreements to thwart terrorism.

• Security assistance to Egypt would be prohibited unless the U.S. President submits a report certifying that the Egyptian government: (i) is not directly or indirectly controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, its affiliates or supporters; (ii) is fully implementing the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty; and (iii) is detecting and destroying smuggling networks and tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. (Section 951) These items reflect Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s call for “the unequivocal rejection of any involvement by the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists who may seek to exploit and hijack these events to gain power.” (By contrast, the Obama administration, through its prior spokesperson Robert Gibbs, said that the new Egyptian government “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors.” In other words, Obama insists that the new Egyptian government must include the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization that promotes arms smuggling into Gaza and wants to tear up the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.)

Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen’s bill would also require the Secretary of State to submit a report that the Egyptian government is adopting and implementing legal reforms that protect the religious and democratic freedoms of all citizens and residents of Egypt. The last item is aimed at stopping the horrific recent Islamist slaughters of Egyptian Christian Copts.

H.R. 2583 also contains “national security waiver” provisions permitting the President to waive above-mentioned conditions on foreign aid if the President determines this to be vital to U.S. national security.

On July 21, 2011, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s bill passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, 23 to 20. Every Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee voted for the bill. Sadly, every Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee (including our local Congressman Ackerman) voted against this worthy legislation. It is particularly disappointing that Ackerman voted against the bill, in light of some recent constructive comments that Ackerman made condemning the PA’s incitement of terrorism and favoring defunding a Hamas-allied PA. Ackerman should “vote where his mouth is.”

After passage out of committee, Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen’s terrorism defunding bill ran into an even bigger wall of Obama administration and Democratic Party opposition. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote a blistering letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, charging that the proposed defunding law would be “debilitating” to Mrs. Clinton’s “efforts to carry out considered foreign policy and diplomacy.” Since when does any sane “considered foreign policy and diplomacy” include sending our tax dollars to terrorist regimes? It is Congress’s right and duty to place restrictions on foreign aid: The Constitution doesn’t give Mrs. Clinton and the State Department “carte blanche” with our tax dollars.

Outrageously, Mrs. Clinton also complained that the restrictions on aiding governments containing terrorists were “crippling.” She also wrote that certifications regarding the involvement of foreign terrorist organizations in governments and the Palestinian Authority were “burdensome and infeasible” for the Obama administration. In other words, it’s too much trouble for the Obama administration to determine whether our tax dollars are going to terrorists!

Mrs. Clinton also specifically objected to a portion of the bill that requires the President to finally move the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s capital (Jerusalem) by 2014.

Mrs. Clinton’s letter also threatened that she will urge President Obama to veto H.R. 2583. Obama has no doubt already decided to veto the terrorism defunding bill if it passes both houses of Congress: the Obama administration has been sending more foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority than any past president, as well as aid to Hamas-controlled Gaza. And Obama promised $1 billion in loan forgiveness plus $1 billion in loan guarantees to the Muslim Brotherhood-influenced new Egyptian regime.

It is believed that the Democratic-controlled Senate will vote against H.R. 2583. (Moreover, the Senate version of a foreign affairs authorization bill, S. 1426, introduced by Democratic Senator John Kerry, contains no restrictions on sending foreign aid to governments that include terrorists or incite terrorism.)

Shamefully, there isn’t a single Democrat in either house of Congress who has supported Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen’s sensible, much-needed bill.
But there's no chance that American Jewry will consider not voting Democratic in 2012, let alone vote Republican. None at all.

Read the whole thing.

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At 2:34 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

doesn't the foreign aid to the arab vermin need to be ap[roved each year? don't tell me it is on autopilot?

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Q was asked; "Since when does any sane “considered foreign policy and diplomacy” include sending our tax dollars to terrorist regimes?". --------------- Since the mid 20th century.

At 2:54 AM, Blogger MacsenMcBain said...

This US Jew wouldn't think of voting for the Dems. To hell with SecState Clinton, Sen Kerry and their diplomacy. Our tax dollars should not go to terror states.

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

In conjunction with this report, you should read this, whereas "President Obama is going to see to it that the 'Palestinians' receive their jizya no matter what..and a little thing like Congress certainly isn't going to stop him if he can help it": How Obama Got Around Congress Withholding $200 M In Aid To The 'Palestinians'


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