US Senate panel clears Pakistan aid boost
WASHINGTON: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously 16-0 in favor of the bill, which triples non-military aid to Pakistan to 7.5 billion dollars over five years. The bill now goes on to the full Senate.
The bill needs to be reconciled afterward with a version approved last week in the House of Representatives, which imposes more stringent conditions on Pakistan to verify it is helping defeat extremism.
The Senate bill -- named for its authors, Democrat John Kerry and Republican Richard Lugar -- puts a focus on economic development in the Islamic world's only declared nuclear power.
"A stable, secure, prosperous Pakistan is vital for Pakistan's 170 million citizens and it's vital to America's national security," said Kerry, the failed Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.