October 15th, 2009
01:18 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama signs $7.5 billion Pakistan aid bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/15/art.obama1015.gi.jpg caption="Obama signs $7.5 billion Pakistan aid bill."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed legislation Thursday providing an additional $7.5 billion in assistance to the Pakistani government.

"This law is the tangible manifestation of broad support for Pakistan in the U.S.," the White House said in a written statement.

The act bolsters a partnership "based on a shared commitment to improving the living conditions of the people of Pakistan through sustainable economic development, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and combating the extremism that threatens Pakistan and the United States," it said.

On Wednesday, the chairmen of the House and Senate committees on foreign relations provided a written explanation of the aid bill, a response to Pakistani complaints that the United States was meddling in its affairs.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman were joined by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as they spoke to reporters.

Qureshi had rushed back to Washington this week to report on opposition inside the Pakistani Parliament to the five-year package of non-military aid. Some Pakistani politicians claimed the aid bill was an American attempt to micro-manage Pakistan's civilian and military affairs.

"Everyone is on the same page," Kerry said. "We are all clear about the intentions of the legislation."

Kerry argued that the bill "demonstrates the American people have a long-term commitment to the people of Pakistan."

Qureshi replied, "This document, which I think is an historic document, is a step forward in our relationship."

Kerry said the explanatory statement attached to the bill emphasizes that no interference is intended with Pakistan's civilian or military operations.

The statement says the bill establishes a variety of requirements meant to ensure U.S. efficiency and compliance, but places no new conditions on the government of Pakistan.

"The many requirements of this report are intended as a way for Congress to assess how effectively U.S. funds are being spent, shortfalls in U.S. resources that hinder the use of such funds, and steps the government of Pakistan has taken to advance our mutual interests in countering extremism and nuclear proliferation and strengthening democratic institutions," the statement says.

"There is no intent to (establish), and nothing in this act in any way suggests that there should be, any U.S. role in micromanaging internal Pakistani affairs, including the promotion of Pakistani military officers or the internal operations of the Pakistani military."

Berman said the statement is "a reflection of our desire to be long-term partners with the Pakistan people."

–CNN's Charley Keyes contributed to this report.

Filed under: John Kerry • Pakistan • President Obama
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Ken

    Why are we giving Pakistan $7.5 billion when there are millions in the US, such as myself, that are on the verge of losing our homes to foreclosure because we can't find work, or a job that pays enough to pay a mortgage?

    Where is my bailout????

    October 15, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. chubby

    Everyone gets the US dollar except the US taxpayer. That seems to be the way of nobama. I still cannot believe people were DUMB enough to vote for this clown.

    October 15, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. bess

    interesting, that's $6.1 Billion dollars MORE than New Orleans got

    (according to story just ahead of this one)

    October 15, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Wake Up

    We are all cutting back. Foreign aid should as well.
    Can we shave 1/2 of that number and give it towards job creation or tax credits? What a waste of money.

    October 15, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. LIP

    On MPR radio the other day, interviews in Pakistan showed the people in an uproar over the strings attached to this money and they were dead set against it. They wanted to use the money mostly for the military to combat the Muslim extemists and the Taliban, but the US imposed too many restrictions.

    October 15, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Tim

    He deserves some sort of award.

    October 15, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. RealityKing

    the new boss, same as the old boss...

    October 15, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. SLM

    Where is this money coming from? How can we keep giving away money that we just don't have. Are we gonna borrow this too?

    October 15, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Throw money to Pakistan, talk Al Queda, turn a blind eye to mistreatment of women by the Taliban, cut and run.

    Obama's "mission accomplished".

    October 15, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Angus McDugan

    If I were a country then I would develop nukes. That way the US would bail me out when I am on the verge of collaps. You don't want those nukes to get in the wrong hands otherwise.

    October 15, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. 2010 can't get here fast enough

    Here is betting that they spend the money more wisely than the $71,000 a job fiasco that the never run nothing but his mouth fraud in chief has done.

    Our economy is cyclical and it "corrects" itself every 8-12 years and his 800 BILLION porkulus bill has only done one thing, GROW GUBMENT's size and to load up on more GUBMENT jobs and roads got paved and the teachers unions got BILLIONS (both facts), we normal folk call it "payback", you sheep call it saving millions of jobs with ZERO PROOF.

    One and done.

    October 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Andy from CA

    This is another example of a travesty once again.

    October 15, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Bluebonnet

    That's right – give it all away!

    October 15, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Debbie

    I cannot believe our president is sending $7,500,000,000 to Pakistan when there are Americans right here in this country going hungry and homeless. I have had enough with the "Stimulus". The money is being wasted in the wrong places and putting a much larger tax burden on Americans for generations to come. When is our government going to wake up! We need help here in this country. We are paying the taxes to support everyone else and we are going down fast. I hope all the people who voted for this president have plenty of money for the government, because they are going to want it, they must send it overseas you know...

    October 15, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. deb0155

    I wish Obama would sign legislation for a $7.5 billion aid packet to the middle class of the United States – in other words – his own countrymen who are really affected by this economy! Our government has turned a blind eye to the middle class of this country. They all better remember that it will be the middle class voting in large droves in 2010!

    October 15, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Duh!

    Can't we use this money right here?

    October 15, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Oy Vey

    I know that our foreign aid packages help advance our international interests ... but ... We could sure put all that money to good work here in the states.

    October 15, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Where is he getting all this money from, I understand it is over 7 years, but that is still a billion dollars a year. We have got to put a stop to this somewhere, is there anyone (D), (R) OR (I), out there that thinks this has to stop!!!!! If you are I will vote for you next election!!!!!

    October 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Shirley In California

    I don't know about this .... Please Mr. President – slow down on the spending.

    October 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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