The US House of Representative earlier today rejected two amendments seeking cut in Coalition Support Fund for Pakistan in the proposed Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2017.
The US House of Representatives had in May approved $ 900 million CSF outlay for Pakistan as part of the annual Defense Authorization Bill. The CSF is reimbursement for expenses incurred by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalail Abbas Jilani had met several lawmakers in recent weeks to project Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism. The country has suffered losses of nearly $200 billion due to terrorism.
During debate on the bill, Congressman Ted Poe of Texas and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a Hindu American from Hawaii moved an amendment to cut CSF for Pakistan from $ 900 million to $ 700 million.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s amendment called for cutting all Coalition Support Fund for Pakistan, saying that detention of Dr. Shakil Afridi was evidence that Pakistan was not a sincere partner of the United States. Congressman Poe called for cutting CSF by $ 200 accusing Pakistan of supporting the Taliban.
The House rejected both amendments by voice vote and resorted to a recorded vote once both lawmakers insisted for it. When put to vote, the amendment moved by Congressman Poe and Congresswoman Gabbard was defeated by 230 to 191. Congressman Rohrabacher’s amendment was defeated by 336-84.
Three Congressmen opposed the amendments. Congressman Rodney Frelinghysen, Chairman of the Defence Appropriations Committee, explained the mechanism of the Coalition Support Fund to the House.
He said that receipts for reimbursements were submitted by cooperating nations and are fully vetted by the Pentagon and follow strict criteria to meet standards for reimbursement. He described CSF as a critical tool that helps Pakistan effectively deal with future challenges from the emerging U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan.
The Congressman observed that the CSF remains a cost-effective tool for the U.S. to remain engaged in the region and with Pakistan.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Co-Chair of Pakistan Congressional Caucus, highlighted Pakistan’s own actions in counter-terrorism. She said, “Over the years, I have worked with a number of persons in the Pakistani Government.