Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Rand Paul Pushes on Aid to Pakistan

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Paul is responding by making life more difficult for the Nevada Democrat. Democratic aides said the Kentucky Republican would not consent to allowing an up-or-down vote to confirm Michael Shipp, a federal magistrate in New Jersey, to be a federal district judge in the state. Instead, Reid set up a Monday evening cloture vote on the nomination.

Shipp’s nomination previously faced a delay as part of a disagreement between the White House and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) about a separate judicial nominee from New Jersey, local media outlets reported at the time. Menendez initially opposed Obama’s nomination of New Jersey magistrate Patty Shwartz for a seat on the Philadelphia-based federal appeals court.

The Shipp nomination has faced minimal opposition, however. Sen. Mike Lee  (R-Utah) was the lone lawmaker registering opposition at the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In contrast to the trouble Paul is having getting his Pakistan vote, the House quickly moved to eliminate $650 million in funding for Pakistan’s counterinsurgency efforts.

Members made many of Paul’s arguments before taking the action to cut the funds from a Defense spending bill without even needing a recorded vote.

“Since 2002, Congress has already appropriated over $8 billion to the Coalition Support Fund specifically for Pakistan. Where I come from, if you try something and it doesn’t work, you don’t continue to do it. We’ve been doing the same thing for over 10 years,” amendment sponsor Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said. “It’s time for a new strategy with Pakistan. More money is not going to solve the problem.”

The State Department on Friday avoided a specific response to a reporter’s questions about Pakistani funding.

“We continue to consult with Congress, but I don’t have any particular reaction to ongoing legislative debate. We continue to, obviously, support our Pakistani counterparts in key areas like counterterrorism, but I don’t have a particular reaction to ongoing legislative debate,” said Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman.

In more difficult news for the Obama administration, frustration with Pakistan goes beyond the most conservative lawmakers.

Senate foreign operations appropriators have recommended a lower funding level for aid to Pakistan next year than had been suggested.

Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), the House’s defense spending chief, also expressed consternation about Pakistan funding last week.

“You cannot have an ally who is an ally today but not an ally tomorrow,” Young said, “and that has been our experience with Pakistan.”

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