The Senate on Thursday decisively voted down an attempt by Senator Rand Paul to stop the sale of 16 F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
Paul made an impassioned speech on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, which, had it been successful, would have halted a deal worth $700 million.
“We’ve got a lot of things going on in our country that need to be taken care of, and we don’t have enough money to be sending it to Pakistan,” Paul said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. “I can’t in good conscience look away as America crumbles at home and politicians tax us to send the money to corrupt and duplicitous regimes abroad.”
“When I see the anguish of those in constant poverty, I wonder why the establishment of both parties continues to send our money overseas to countries that take our money, take our arms and laugh in our face,” Paul added.
Paul also noted that the U.S. government has sent $15 billion to Pakistan over the last decade, even while its previous president “armed, aided, and abetted the Taliban.”
“Why in the world would we be sending this money to Pakistan?” Paul said. “You remember when bin Laden escaped? We chased him and he escaped. Where did he go? To Pakistan. He lived for a decade in Pakistan. Where? About a mile away from their military academy. Somehow they missed him there.”
Despite Paul’s speech, the Senate voted 71-24 to kill his measure. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Ben Cardin encouraged their respective caucuses to vote the measure down.
“Think about where a country is radicalized and has so many problems as the country of Pakistan has, the public embarrassment that will take place by our body doing this,” Corker said. “Let’s work together in other ways that actually can generate behavior change by dealing with it in more subtle ways than this blunt object that we’re dealing with today.”
Paul was joined by both Republicans and Democrats, including Senators Corey Booker, Charles Grassley, Joe Manchin, Mark Kirk, and Elizabeth Warren.
None of the senators in the presidential race cast a vote: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Bernie Sanders.
h/t: The Hill