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The US House of Representatives decided Friday to cut foreign aid to Saudi Arabia due to its teaching of intolerance and the lack of action by the kingdom in preventing funding of terror groups. The measure still needs to be approved by Senate, which has not yet voted on its version of the foreign aid bill.
The House voted 312 to 97 to leave out of the bill $420 million slated for Saudi Arabia. The money was to be used for classrooms and educational needs.
"American taxpayer dollars should not be supporting Saudi hate and terror," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y). Weiner, who was behind stripping the aid. "Why should we provide aid to a country that has systematically exported terrorism?"
Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) opposed the cut and said it would be counterproductive to the US efforts to get Saudi Arabia to play a positive role in the war against terror. "For heaven sakes, is this not something we want to do?" Kolbe said, "This is about the war on terror."
The cut in aid to Saudi Arabia is seen mainly as a symbolic act that expresses disapproval of many in Congress over what they see as a lack of Saudi cooperation in fighting incitement and intolerance in the Muslim world.
The foreign aid bill passed by the House includes $2.46 billion in aid to Israel, which continues to be the largest recipient of US foreign aid. The package includes $2.34b. in military assistance and $120 million in economic aid. It also provides $40m. in assistance to absorb refugees in Israel.
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