While visiting Israel, Sen. Paul calls for less U.S. foreign aid
January 8th, 2013
10:22 AM ET
10 years ago

While visiting Israel, Sen. Paul calls for less U.S. foreign aid

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Rand Paul is staying true to his message against sending millions in aid money overseas, even while visiting Israel, one of the largest beneficiaries of U.S. assistance.

"It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process," Paul said at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, according to the Jerusalem Post. "I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits."

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Paul, considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made his comments Monday at the start of his first trip to the Jewish state–a voyage made by many in the past with presidential aspirations.

According to the Post, the senator said his view may be different if the U.S. didn't borrow so much money from overseas. "To me it has always been about whether it makes sense for me to borrow money from China to give to Pakistan."

His office confirmed that Paul reiterated his stance on limiting aid. The freshman senator from Kentucky, who has long expressed libertarian views on foreign assistance, has proved willing to buck even those in his own party on matters of foreign policy. While serving as a surrogate for Mitt Romney last fall, Paul was not hesitant to criticize the GOP presidential nominee on international issues.

And in September, Paul pushed legislation that would strip Pakistan, Egypt and Libya of U.S. aid. He held up other votes, including a measure to continue funding the government, until the upper chamber held a vote on his bill. The aid measure was defeated.

Speaking Monday, Paul said he would not advocate for an immediate cutoff of U.S. aid overseas, especially in Israel.

"I'm all for gradualism," he said. "I would start a little more quickly with those who are enemies of Israel, and enemies of the US. I would like to see their aid end more quickly. With regards to Israel, it could be a gradual phenomenon."

A Congressional Research Service report from March 2012 stated the U.S. has provided $115 billion in bilateral assistance to Israel since World War II, with nearly all of the aid coming in the form of military assistance. For 2013, the Obama administration is requesting $3.1 billion, according to the report.

Paul has not denied that he's interested in a presidential run. According to a CNN/ORC International Poll released mid-December, 48% of Republicans said they were very or somewhat likely to support Paul for the GOP nomination in 2016.

Others who had stronger numbers in the poll included House Budget Chairman and 2012 GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennslyvania also had 48%.

Filed under: Foreign Policy • Israel • Rand Paul
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. keith

    Good on you Paul. I don't agree with a lot of his policies, but the billions we spend overseas while we sink further into debt needs to be curtailed.

    January 8, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Remember, folks. These billions that are spent "assisting" other countries are not part of the DoD budget. I think if the majority of people fully understood how much our military budget goes towards keeping "military bases" in other countries that they would be horrified. If you count all of the sites that meet the definition of a " military base", which would include safe houses, actual armed installations, the total would approach 50,000 such sites overseas. Most of it is not for our own defense, but for defense of other countries who could or should be spending their own money on their own defense. How much money do we spend in Germnay every year?

    January 8, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. a little sad

    May I suggest that it is not only his son who drinks?

    January 8, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Mtheumer

    So the 1+% of our budget is what he's on about.

    January 8, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    So, Senator Aqua Buddha is calling for less foreign aid? No one is calling for him to resign because of that.

    January 8, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. MaryM

    Bye bye tea person Paul

    January 8, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. Lunaville

    A good bit of the "aid" the USA provides other countries, including Israel, actually consists of barely veiled gifts to US weapons manufacturers. "Aid" is provided to a receiving country which then purchases US produced weaponry. Sometimes the money to fund this subsidy for the war industry is borrowed from China; sometimes it is taken from the taxpayers and used in lieu of investments in the American civilian economy. This scenario is not always the case, but it occurs often enough to justify the end of all military aid to all other countries. General Smedley Butler summed the topic up most succinctly when he stated "War is a racket."

    January 8, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. Thomas

    Senator Aqua Buddha , less spending and aid to Israel and more spending on metal health !

    January 8, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. Andy

    So when does the good Sen. takes on the military industrial complex? or is that be going too far?

    January 8, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    There goes his AIPAC support!

    January 8, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess that he doesn't see the good that it does for those countries and the good will it gets our country with those receipiants. I would hope that someoen sits down with the senator and teaches him what is going on with foreign policy and aid.

    January 8, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    How come the right wing is not blasting Rand for not conforming to unconditional support of anything Israel?

    January 8, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. ST

    Being served abroad for quite sometime, people do not understand the reason we tend to help others. Is it for getting something in return or just for prestige?

    January 8, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Enough is Enough

    Does this mean Israel will have less money to spend on building illegal settlements on stolen land.

    January 8, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. judy

    sounds anti Israel to me I guess the repos should oust him like Hagel? Oh wait he is a tea bagger that makes it ok. The repos are so screwed up

    January 8, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. PJ

    "With regards to Israel, it could be a gradual phenomenon".
    So, if all of the aid going to Israel is mostly for military assistance, what would happen if we cut back our aid?
    We would be sending our own troops. Israel, with our financial assistance, has done a very good job of
    defending herself.
    If Chuck Hagel had suggested this, he would have been called "anti-Israel".
    How about Rand just staying home and saving us the expense of a "voyage" prompted by his Presidential

    January 8, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. ghostriter

    Can't wait for McConnell to come out and blast Paul.

    January 8, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Bill from GA

    These days we have less influence throughout the world from on our moral positions.

    It has been a long time since we saved Europe from the Germans, and China, the Philippines, etc. from the Japanese. We invade other countries, or get involved in wars, for little reason. We justify torture when convenient. We imprison people without trial.

    Therefore, what little influence we have is bought. If it takes borrowed, foreign money to buy favor, so be it. However, when we try to buy favor in the world, we should make sure we get what we pay for, that our spending is in OUR best interest, or else cut back the funds. No more blank checks, with little or no return value.

    As to our over-spending, Congress and the President should work together on the budget and seriously cut waste, then cut whatever else is possible. The republicans tried to lock in a bloated Military Budget last month. Not a good sign.

    January 8, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Catmandew

    If we dont stop with aid to other nations when we are broke no one will be there to help us anyway they just want their money we borrowed back. So why not keep the aid money and hand outs and take care of our own first! If we stop all aid money and close our borders we will be further ahead anyway!

    January 8, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Malory Archer

    OMG!!! I actually agree with Aqua Buddha for once. It's like they say: even a broken clock is right a couple of times a day.

    January 8, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. chilly g

    im a democraft(black american) and paul is the only republicans i could support, i think it stupit of us to
    give to countries we know is sping on us like israel and selling our information to china, who need friends
    like that.

    January 8, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Peter

    Rand Paul has highlighted a major problem: "To me it has always been about whether it makes sense for me to borrow money from China to give to Pakistan."

    The solution is simple:
    Give the money to Israel and ask them to fix the Pakistani problem. Israel will fix the Pakistanis more effectively and cheaply for good.

    January 8, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Dax

    Rand Paul has highlighted a major problem:
    "To me it has always been about whether it makes sense for me to borrow money from China to give to Pakistan."
    The solution is very simple:
    Give the money to Israel and ask them to deal with the Pakistan problem. Israel will fix the Pakistani problem very effectively and very cheaply.

    January 8, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Rudy NYC wrote, "How come the right wing is not blasting Rand for not conforming to unconditional support of anything Israel?"

    That's because President Obama hasn't nominated him for anything.

    January 8, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. robertholt

    Apparently, Rand Paul is opposed to the United States giving foreign to Israel. I’ve always thought that his father, Ron Paul was a nut. I thought that maybe there was hope with Ron's son, Rand, from a new, young generation. But no, Rand is a nut too. And even Rand’s son recently got in trouble for drinking and disorderly conduct. Talk about the three stooges.

    January 8, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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