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Sequester Pakistan

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, America's young warriors risk it all to protect and serve the rest of us. They put themselves in harm's way not only to protect America, but to defend the freedoms of people they have never seen in lands they have never been. Some join right out of high school with the promise that they can further their education while in the military. This helps not only our troops, but an educated military helps America.

Now the administration has broken another promise. Thousands of troops can no longer go to college because the education program has been scuttled. For the sake of politics, the ``Chicken Little Administration'' has handpicked programs to cut that would make Americans feel the sequester the most. One of those programs is the Military Tuition Assistance program.

Mr. Speaker, tuition assistance for our military is not much money. The Pentagon, the Department of Defense, has a budget of $700 billion. This little program is 0.1 percent of the $700 billion Department of Defense program.

The Tuition Assistance program is great because it's one of the ways our government can take care of our men and women who help us. It has allowed members of the military to take 870,000 courses and graduate 50,000 individuals for several degrees. That is remarkable. But the program is gone, thus saith the White House.

Over the past few weeks, I've been hearing from several southeast Texans who are disappointed because Washington has broken another promise. Dr. Norman Lefee, a science teacher at Klein High School in Texas, said this:

I encourage my students to join the military as a way to open up a possibility for higher education. Oftentimes, they come from families where they are the first high school graduate and the first person to graduate from college. Now that opportunity is being taken away from them. It's not fair. I got these kids to join the military. Now the administration has broken its promise.

Brian wrote me this:

I am Active Duty Coast Guard and one of your constituents. I was one class away from obtaining a master's degree and the Tuition Assistance program was now canceled. Why?

Jerri from Houston wrote me this:

As a combat medic in the National Guard, I currently use my tuition assistance to pay for my Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. I want to stay in the military. I hope to move directly to a commission on Active Duty as a psychiatrist or psychologist in the Army and serve soldiers with PTSD.

Education is the great equalizer, and servicemembers' access to affordable education will only make our country stronger. Restore our tuition assistance.

There's more, Mr. Speaker.

Last year, the marines spent roughly $47 million on tuition assistance--$47 million out of a $700 billion Department of Defense budget. However, education assistance is not being cut for everybody. During the same year, Washington spent $12.7 million on higher education in Pakistan. That's right, Mr. Speaker. We spent more than one-fourth of what we spent on education for the marines to fund higher education for the Pakistanis. And that's not all. Since the sequester, the administration has approved $37 million in foreign aid to Pakistan.

Why are we funding education programs for our Benedict Arnold ally when we can't fund--or don't fund--the education for our military? And to Pakistan of all places, where hatred for America is at its highest. Washington should watch its spending and prioritize.

It's time, Mr. Speaker, to sequester Pakistan. Why are we cutting the aid for our military and educating the people in Pakistan? The administration has the power and ability to make it right; but if this program is not reinstated, I am going to introduce legislation to withhold nondefense foreign aid from Pakistan until this wonderful program for our troops is fully funded.

The President should stop punishing our troops. We have a moral obligation to take care of our warriors that protect us.

The President says he is the education President. Well, Mr. President, let the troops go to school.

And that's just the way it is.


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