BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I am not a big fan of foreign aid. We have a lot of problems in our country. I don't see how we can send billions of dollars overseas when we have bridges falling down in our country. Two bridges in my State were impassable. One was hit by a boat and has been impassable for 6 months. We have another bridge that is over 50 years old that was shut down for emergency repairs, and traffic stacked up for miles. Yet we send billions of dollars overseas when we don't have enough to fix our own bridges. It doesn't make any sense. We borrow $1 trillion a year from China to turn around and send it to some other country. It makes no sense.
I am not a big fan of sending our money overseas. But I am even less of a fan of sending our money to countries that don't seem to be our friends. Pakistan has worked with us on the war on terror. But recently Pakistan has chosen not to let any of our supplies--food and military supplies--traverse Pakistan. Recently, Pakistan has said we owe them $3 billion. We are giving them $2 billion a year, and they say we owe them $3 billion that is not included in that. Recently, Pakistan also said they want to charge us $5,000 per container of food that goes across their land.
For years bin Laden lived contentedly right in the middle of Pakistan underneath their noses. What is up with that? We are giving them $2 billion a year and bin Laden was twiddling his thumbs there and they are not letting our supplies go across and they are demanding a past payment of $3 billion for who knows what and we continue to pay them.
Recently, it has gotten even worse. Dr. Shakil Afridi is a doctor who helped us get bin Laden. Somehow his name was leaked. I don't know who leaked the name or if they were trying to puff themselves up and make themselves look as if they were strongly fighting terrorism, but by leaking Dr. Afridi's name, he is now in prison in Pakistan for 33 years.
Dr. Shakil Afridi is a Pakistani and they have put him in prison for 33 years. His life has been threatened. If he is released--which I hope he will be--his life has been threatened because his name is public. How did it become public? Somebody leaked his name. This is inexcusable. If this came from within our government, whoever leaked his name or this information should be held accountable. I mean put in prison in our country for leaking state secrets.
Dr. Afridi's name is now known in public, and he is being threatened, and his family is being threatened. Not only that, anybody around the world who wants to help us stop terrorism, who is willing to stand and help America, is now threatened. Do you think people are going to want to help us if they know their names will be printed in the New York Times? We have to have things that we don't divulge about people who are helping us. But Dr. Afridi is in prison for 33 years, and I am going to do what I can to free him.
We should not send Pakistan any more money. I say stop immediately. I am not saying take a small amount out next year; I say don't send them one more penny this year or next year. Don't send any of the $3 billion they want. We don't even have it to send to them. We have to borrow it from China. I would give them one chance. If they release Dr. Afridi, I would stand down.
My bill was blocked. I tried to have a vote on it last week, and the leadership said: No, you won't have that vote.
But we have a process where if you get enough signatures from Senators, you can ask for a vote and get it. That is where we are now. I have enough signatures to have the vote.
I am going to be meeting with the Pakistani Ambassador, and meeting with President Obama's State Department, and what I will tell them is what I am telling you. This is not a secret. If Dr. Afridi is not successful with his appeal, which is coming up in the next 3 weeks, if he is not released and provided safe passage out of Pakistan, if he wishes, then I will have this vote. And I defy anyone in this body to stand here and vote to send U.S. taxpayer dollars to Pakistan when they are treating us this way. So we will have a vote in this body on ending all aid to Pakistan immediately if we don't get some results.
This doesn't mean I don't want to have diplomacy with Pakistan. Pakistan has been a friend over many years, and I see no reason to end that. Pakistan has many elements that are pro-Western and that want to engage in the world. I am all for that. But we shouldn't have to buy our friends. We shouldn't have to pay a ransom. We shouldn't have to lavish them with taxpayer dollars.
In fact, I think it encourages a disrespect when you give people so much money. Let's let them earn our respect. Let's work with them. Let's be friends with Pakistan. Let's have diplomatic ties to Pakistan. Let's try to help each other. Terrorism doesn't help Pakistan. They are threatened equally by it. I can list four Pakistani leaders who have been assassinated in the past 15 years. Why were they assassinated? Because of radical elements in their own country. So they should be with us in trying to stop extremism, on trying to stop this radicalism.
My words for the Senate today and for the American people are that I am watching out for your money. I realize we have needs here at home that must come first, but also that I will force a vote on this. I am not going to send any more of your money or try not to let the Senate send any more of your money to Pakistan unless they are willing to cooperate, unless they are willing to be friends with America, unless they are willing to release the man who helped us get bin Laden.
I will ask for a vote, it will come in the next few weeks, and I will keep everyone in America up to date on this.
I thank the Senate for allowing me this time, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT