Today, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released a statement following the announcement that the United States will direct one third of Kerry-Lugar-Berman (KLB) funds to help Pakistan recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the flooding that devastated the country earlier this year:
"I am pleased the United States will commit $500 million of the first year of Kerry-Lugar-Berman funds -- one third of our civilian assistance budget for Pakistan -- to benefit flood victims during the critical recovery and reconstruction process. As I saw firsthand during my visit to flood-affected areas in August, Pakistan has suffered its worst natural disaster in modern history. The danger of the floods extends beyond a very real humanitarian crisis, with long-lasting consequences for the country and the region. With the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package as the cornerstone, the Obama administration has made a long-term commitment to stand by the people of Pakistan as they overcome the political, economic, and security challenges that threaten their stability. To be effective, we have to act decisively to help support the immediate needs of the Pakistani people in line with their own priorities. Congress plays an important role in providing continued civilian assistance to Pakistan during this critical period, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure continued bipartisan support. I applaud the Obama administration for seizing the initiative and urge them to be as bold and creative as possible in responding to the needs on the ground."
This funding is in addition to the $500 million already provided by the United States for Pakistan flood relief. Chairman Kerry wrote the historic Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which authorized tripling non-military aid to Pakistan. Kerry and Lugar also wrote legislation creating the Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund, which passed the Committee in September 2010 and if passed by Congress would help strengthen the private sector in Pakistan using existing KLB funds.
Chairman Kerry has visited Pakistan four times since becoming chairman and was the first member of Congress to visit Pakistan in August 2010 after the historic flooding that devastated the country.