Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2346, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009

Floor Speech

Date: May 18, 2009
Location: Washington, DC


* Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise to note that the rule and the process leading to its presentation are flawed and consequently, the underlying bill does not adequately serve our military forces or the taxpayers of this country.

* Since 2002, billions of dollars have been given to the Pakistan military and much of that amount has not been accounted for.

* Pakistani military commanders continue to consider certain extremists as their ``strategic assets'' in their seemingly never-ending security concerns involving fears about India; and the Pakistani military continues to fail to give proper attention to Pakistan's existential threat--the very extremists who associate with and harbor Al Qaeda and are also a threat to Afghanistan, our forces in Afghanistan, and others throughout the world.

* I proposed, with a number of colleagues, and believe the bill must be improved by, an amendment establishing enforceable benchmarks on U.S. military assistance to Pakistan that would lead to the articulation of reasonable expectations.

* Functionally, the amendment requires that the President make reasonable determinations about the state of mutual security objectives of Pakistan and the United States before any remainder of the military assistance for Pakistan can be obligated.

* It does not seek to condition any civilian assistance to Pakistan. The American people and its government are the friends of Pakistan and its people, and we fully understand the crisis nature of the economy and civil governance status. The assistance in any measure should certainly be accounted for, and should be put to effect in such a way as to ensure it maximizes benefit to the Pakistani people. America is making a long term commitment to Pakistan, its democracy and its future prosperity.

* Nevertheless, with respect to military funding, specifically, the amendment requires determinations on Pakistan--through its military--to make concerted progress toward:

(1) Ceasing of all support to groups presenting cross-border terrorist threats,

(2) Dismantling training facilities for such groups across Pakistan,

(3) Preventing and disrupting cross-border attacks,

(4) Strengthening and increasing counterterrorism prosecutions and extraditions,

(5) Degrading such groups' radio broadcast infrastructure, and

(6) Extending Pakistan's legitimate governmental writ across its territory and the protection of all its citizens' civil and human rights without discrimination.

* As an oversight forcing function, the amendment requires written justification of the President's determinations and also tasks the U.S. Government Accountability Office with providing an independent analysis of the categories requiring Presidential determination.

* Additionally, the amendment includes language allowing the President to waive the requirement if such action is certified to be vital to the national security interests of the United States. Finally, there is in the amendment a process for Congress to disprove of such certification if in its judgment such action is appropriate.

* We must stop just handing out cash slush funds only to witness conduct not conducive to both nations' national security.

* We have a right to expect that dangerous suspected terrorists will not just be set free as has reportedly happened with the Pakistani military's complicity; and a right to expect accountability for the hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars that should be targeted to effective security for our troops in Afghanistan and people here at home.

* We must ensure resources are focused on Pakistan's and America's common security interests and the only really verifiable way to have that occur is to condition any funds sent to the Pakistani military in the way set forth in the proposed amendment.

* For too long our military, and our government, have dealt directly with the Pakistani military and ignored the civilian government empowering their military to circumvent democratic accountability and hindering our ability to account for our investment. The way to resolve matters in Afghanistan relies heavily on circumstances in Pakistan. The situation in Pakistan cries out for accountability if we are to successfully protect our security.