Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is warning she "will recommend personally" that President Obama veto a bill recently passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee that would potentially cut U.S. aid to some Middle Eastern countries.
"The bill includes crippling restrictions on security assistance where maximum flexibility is needed, especially with regard to the governments of Egypt, Lebanon, and Yemen, and to the Palestinian Authority (PA)," Clinton wrote Tuesday in a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
The bill would place a hold on assistance for the PA and these Arab governments until the Obama administration provided "detailed criteria - e.g., concerning involvement of foreign terrorist organizations in such governments and in the PA, and confirming that the PA is not declaring independence."
According to a section-by-section summary of H.R. 2583 released by the Foreign Affairs panel, before Yemen can continue to receive security assistance, the president must certify that "no ministry, agency or instrumentality of the Government of Yemen is directly or indirectly affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization; and that no member of a foreign terrorist organization serves in any policy position in a ministry, agency or instrumentality of the Government of Yemen."
Another section requires the president to "certify to the appropriate congressional committees that no member of Hezbollah or any other foreign terrorist organization serves in a policy position in a ministry, agency or instrumentality of the Government of Lebanon" before aid can go there.
Assistance to Egypt would be conditioned on a presidential certification that the Egyptian government is not "controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, its affiliates or supporters … is fully implementing" the peace treaty with Israel; and "is destroying the smuggling network and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza [S]trip."
Clinton also objected to the bill's provisions regarding U.S. aid to Pakistan. It requires that Pakistan make "demonstrable progress" in combating terror groups before it can receive some U.S. security-related assistance.
Read the full bill summary here.