This was a vote on a motion by Rep. Rogers (R-KY) to recommit (send back to committee) H.R. 1886, with instructions that would have removed a number of the new reporting on and monitoring requirements the bill imposed on the Pakistani Government. H.R. 1886, the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Act, among other things tripled the level of U.S. assistance for democratic, economic and social development in Pakistan.
The new reporting and monitoring requirements included gaining additional information about Pakistani intelligence operations and its spending of U.S. funding. They had been imposed because of concerns that Pakistan was not fully implementing its anti-terrorist efforts, and that it had not spent all of the previous U.S. assistance appropriately. The conditions were highly unpopular in Pakistan, which claimed that they intruded on its national sovereignty.
Rep. Rogers began his remarks in support of his motion by commending the bipartisan efforts that had been made on this bill. He then described as “arrogant” the inclusion in H.R. 1886 of reporting and other monitoring requirements on the Pakistani Government.
Rogers argued that their inclusion is effectively saying “(W)e know better than you, Pakistan. We're going to make you set up a teachers' pay scale if you want . . . U.S. money to help us in the fight against terrorism that is ongoing today by people . . . who are trying to kill Americans today and make further unstable the Pakistani Government . . .Their government is at risk, their people are dying. This bill arrogantly says, listen, we want you to help us in terrorism, but let me tell you what's important, your teacher pay scales. . . Their government is at risk, their people are dying. This is a sovereign nation.”
Rogers also argued that including these requirements makes it look as if Pakistan is just a puppet doing the bidding of the U.S., is not in control and not an “equal partner in the fight against terrorism.”
Rep. Berman (D-CA), who was leading the effort on behalf of H.R. 1886, opposed the motion. He had defended the legislation during the debate on the bill as a measure that strengthened the U.S. relationship with Pakistan. He had argued that “(W)e need a robust, long-term relationship with our strategic partners . . . The PEACE Act (as written) will help us establish just such a relationship with Pakistan.”
Berman also said: “(W)e have absolutely no conditions or restrictions or efforts to earmark or tie up any of the economic assistance in this bill . . . we have some principles, we have suggestions, we lay out things that need to be done to build democratic institutions in Pakistan . . . we suggest in this bill some guidelines and tie no one's hands.”
The motion was defeated on a vote of 164-245. One hundred sixty-two Republicans and two Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and thirty-seven Democrats and eight Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the House moved to an immediate vote on final passage of H.R. 1886, with all the new auditing, monitoring, reporting and evaluation requirements included.