WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is opposing attempts by House Democrats to attach strings to billions of dollars in new aid to Pakistan, even as some lawmakers question why American taxpayers should turn over large sums to a government that has shown reluctance to take on Islamist extremists.
As part of the strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan he unveiled last month, President Obama requested that Congress approve billions in additional military and civilian assistance for the volatile U.S. ally.
The House's Pakistan aid bill would condition the military money on the president certifying that Pakistan's intelligence agencies are not supporting terrorist groups and have closed terrorist camps in tribal areas.
That bill, which would allow the president to waive the requirement in the interest of national security, is from Rep. Howard Berman, the California Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The administration views Berman's approach as "too inflexible," Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. It "would severely constrain the executive branch."
Let's see: a bill with a provision that the President can unilaterally waive is ... too inflexible.
In other words: Give us the money, shut up, and let us run the war without any Congressional oversight.
Gee. Where have we heard that line before?