Congressman Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., today strongly criticized President Obama's proposal to send billions of dollars in aid to help democratize Arab countries, saying the time has come to reassess foreign aid in light of America's debt crisis.
"The President's decision to announce a major new foreign aid plan just 72 hours after the United States reached a statutory debt ceiling displays a disturbing disconnect with the financial reality facing our nation," Buchanan said. "We are broke. We need to put America first and stop trying to buy loyalty and friendship from countries that may not have our best interests in mind."
Buchanan added, "instead of using our tax dollars to spur business investment in Tunisia, let's use the money to create jobs in America."
According to the Wall Street Journal, the President's foreign aid plan will be "far bolder" than previous American economic assistance in the Middle East. The plan will include a "mixture of direct aid, debt relief, and export credits" to assist countries in the region.
Last week, Buchanan wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to freeze all foreign aid to Pakistan until its leaders can show they had no knowledge of Osama bin Laden's whereabouts. "We need to know where Pakistan stands in the fight against Al-Qaeda and terrorism across the globe," Buchanan wrote. Earlier this year, the President requested $3 billion for Pakistan in his 2012 budget plan, adding to the $13 billion in aid given to the country over the past decade.
Buchanan also criticized the Administration's plan to provide Egypt with $1 billion in debt relief at a time when the United States is facing its own debt crisis. "Giving Egypt $1 billion in debt relief when our own nation is on the road to bankruptcy makes absolutely no sense and just continues Washington's reckless spending decisions of the past decade," Buchanan said. As it currently stands, the U.S. provides Egypt with $1.5 billion annually.
"Now, more than ever, we should be focusing on policies that grow our own economy, create jobs, and reduce the massive federal deficit," said Buchanan.