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Democrats Take Pains to Avoid Rand Paul's Pakistan Amendment

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

"I can't say it's unwise to have a vote," Levin said. "How much time would there be to debate a matter of significance like this? Would there be a week's time to debate it? A day's time to debate it? I mean, just to have a vote without any deliberation, it seems to me, is not the way the Senate should operate."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), the GOP's top foreign aid appropriator, blasted Paul's amendment.

"Pakistan is a country with nuclear weapons that is hanging by a thread. I think it would be a very bad idea," Graham said. "They've opened up the supply routes; they have been helpful in some areas.

"We live in dangerous times, and I am very worried about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Pakistan falling into extremist hands. So no, now is not the time to disengage from Pakistan," Graham said, before noting that the funds should have "some conditions."

Graham has the position on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations that was held for years by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

McConnell delivered a floor speech Thursday morning regarding the recent attacks against U.S. diplomatic outposts in the Middle East and North Africa that differed from his junior Kentucky colleague's view of taking foreign aid away from Libya and Egypt.

"This is a moment for Americans to show our closest allies in the Middle East that we unequivocally stand with them. No mixed signals. Neither Israel, nor any of our allies, should ever have any reason to doubt that resolve," McConnell said.

Paul filed another amendment to the veterans' bill after four Americans killed in a rocket attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to strip aid from the North African country.

"The perpetrators of this senseless attack must be brought to justice. I, therefore, demand that until the Libyan police hand over suspects to U.S officials, any U.S. foreign aid to the government of Libya be contingent on their full support in this matter," Paul said in a statement.

The statement came even as U.S. officials, led by President Barack Obama, praised Libyan cooperation in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

"Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya. Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans," Obama said.

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