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Perry Says Aid To Israel ‘Would Start At Zero’ In His Administration: ‘Make Your Case’ For U.S. Assistance

By Ben Armbruster  

"Perry Says Aid To Israel ‘Would Start At Zero’ In His Administration: ‘Make Your Case’ For U.S. Assistance"

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Tonight during the CBS/National Journal GOP presidential foreign policy debate, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) said that if he were president, “every country is going to start at zero dollars” in American foreign aid. “We need a president of the United States working with a Congress that sends a clear message to every country. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan or whether it’s India,” he said.

Later in the debate, debate co-moderater Scott Pelley read a question from Twitter that asked, “Does governor Perry’s foreign aid starts at zero include Israel?” “Absolutely,” Perry said:

PELLEY: Does governor Perry’s foreign aid starts at zero include Israel?

PERRY: Well @GovernorPerry would tweet back at her that absolutely, every country would start at zero. Obviously Israel is a special ally and my bet is we would be funding them at some substantial level. But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case.

Watch it:

The U.S. has committed to a 10-year agreement to provide Israel with security assistance with approximately $30 billion in aid. President Obama has upheld this agreement, but Perry’s stance would cancel that U.S. commitment.

The Republican Jewish Council tweeted that it hopes Perry gets briefed “on 10-year Memorandum of Understanding that governs US- Israel funding levels.”

“My faith requires me to support Israel,” Perry said in 2009. Apparently that faith only goes so far.

Update

“I agree with Governor Perry. Start everything at zero,” Mitt Romney chimed in. A Romney spokesperson later told Politico’s Ben Smith that Mitt was only talking about Pakistan, not Israel.

Transcript:

PELLEY: Why is Pakistan playing a double game, saying that it supports the United States one moment and then supporting terrorists that are killing American troops the next. What’s going on there?

PERRY: Listen I think we’re having an interesting conversation here but the deeper one that the Speaker makes reference to is the whole issue of foreign aid. And we need a president of the United States working with a Congress that sends a clear message to every country. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan or whether it’s India.

The foreign aid budget in my administration for every country is going to start at zero dollars. Zero dollars. And then we’ll have a conversation. Then we’ll have a conversation in this country about whether or not a penny of our taxpayer dollars needs to go into those countries. And Pakistan is clearly sending us messages, Mitt. It’s clearly sending us messages that they don’t deserve our foreign aid that we’re getting [sic] because they’re not being honest with us. American soldiers’ lives are being put in jeopardy because of that country and the decisions that they’re making. It’s time for us as a country to say no to foreign aid to countries that don’t support the United States of America. [...]

PELLEY: Does governor Perry’s foreign aid starts at zero include Israel?

PERRY: Well @GovernorPerry would tweet back at her that absolutely, every country would start at zero. Obviously Israel is a special ally and my bet is we would be funding them at some substantial level. But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case.

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