US cuts Pakistan aid by $10 million to help Ukraine

WASHINGTON (TIP): A key congressional committee passed a legislation of new financial assistance to Ukraine, by reducing a small portion of US aid given to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill.

The $10 million taken from the annual $1.5 billion to Pakistan would be used to carry out programming in the Ukrainian, Balkan, Russian, and Tatar language services of radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty and Voice of America, the house bill said. The legislation — HR 4278, the Ukraine Support Act — was passed on Tuesday by an overwhelming bipartisan support by the powerful house foreign affairs committee.

Introduced last week by the committee chairman Ed Royce and ranking member Eliot Engel, it promotes Ukraine’s sovereignty and democratic institutions while sanctioning those who have sought to undermine its independence and stability. The issue of moving funds from the Kerry-Lugar- Berman Bill — which is officially known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 — was raised during the mark up of the bill by the house foreign affairs committee. “My reading of the bill (HR 4278) is that we’re actually taking money from the Pakistani aid budget and putting it into the Ukraine aid budget instead,” Congressman Alan Grayson said. “In terms of that portion of the budget, I think it’s broadcasting in Pakistan that we’re taking the funds and applying it here,” Congressman Ed Royce said.

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