Reps. Mark Sanford and Thomas Massie want aid to Pakistan spent in the U.S. instead

Mark Sanford Photo: Gage Skidmore

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Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) introduced a bill Monday that would redirect American aid to Pakistan to infrastructure projects within the United States. The congressmen believe U.S. dollars should not go to a country that they believe has supported terrorism and exhibited anti-American behavior.

Sanford says funding from the United States Agency for International Development and State Department funding would be reallocated to the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for road improvements.

While some on Capitol Hill have suggested an increase in gas taxes to bolster the fund, Sanford argues that increasing taxes is not necessary or prudent.

“When the American people support other nations, our generosity shouldn’t be used to reward terrorists with U.S. taxpayer dollars,” Sanford said in a statement. “Couple this with the fact that the Highway Trust Fund will be $111 billion short by 2026, and it simply makes financial sense to repurpose these funds for our infrastructure.”

The congressmen, who are both members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, both referenced their concerns over Pakistan’s alleged relationships with terrorists in explaining the some of the reasons behind the bill.

“The United States should not funnel money to a government that provides military aid and intelligence to terrorists. This common-sense bill puts America first by re-allocating tax dollars to our roads and bridges at home instead of funneling money overseas,” Massie said.

The House bill comes after President Trump called on Congress last week during his State of the Union address to create an infrastructure plan of “at least” $1.5 trillion.

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Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate as well, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introducing a bill with the same goal in mind. He introduced similar legislation in 2015.

Paul’s 2015 bill to cut aid to Pakistan was blocked that year, but Paul is hopeful the Senate can try again this year under Trump.

“Let’s bring that money home and use it to help rebuild our infrastructure instead of giving it to a nation that persecutes Christians and imprisons people such as the doctor that helped us get Osama bin Laden,” Paul said in January, estimating that the funds would amount to approximately $2 billion.

At the White House, President Trump seems to favor the idea of cutting aid to Pakistan, calling for it himself on Jan. 1.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump tweeted.

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