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Another GOP senator backs Manchin over Paul ads

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Another Republican U.S. senator said Thursday that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was right when he voted against an amendment to cut off foreign aid to countries including Egypt, Pakistan and Libya.

Internet advertisements, paid for by a political action committee created by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., continue to attack Manchin over his vote on the amendment, which was sponsored by Paul.

The amendment failed by an 81-9 margin. Of the senators who voted against it, 30 were Republicans.

One of those Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Thursday that voting against Paul's amendment was "in our national interest."

"There is no question that Joe Manchin was in the right place [on the vote]," Corker said in a telephone interview with the Gazette. "Joe was presiding over the Senate when most of the debate around this issue took place.

"The amendment itself was seriously flawed," Corker said. "The way it was crafted, you were really turning over foreign aid decisions to terrorists. If a terrorist happened to trespass into Israel, you would have to cut off foreign aid to Israel."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also supported Manchin against the attack in the Paul ad earlier this month.

Manchin and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., were the Paul PAC's first two targets. Today, the PAC's website is asking viewers to donate money to "keep this ad on the air."

"I am traveling the country doing everything I can to help Republican senators. I hope we have a Republican majority. I have been helping senators in multiple places," Corker said.

"I am doing everything I can to help Republican senators get elected. But Joe Manchin made absolutely the right vote. No one should be attacked for voting for the national interest of our country. He is to be commended for that," Corker said.

The PAC ad states, "While they tear down and burn the American flag in Egypt and shout 'Death to America,' Joe Manchin votes to provide U.S. taxpayer aid to Egypt." The ad ends by trying to link Manchin to President Barack Obama.

Corker said he doesn't oppose changes in foreign aid. "We definitely need a reform in our foreign aid. We need to look at it from top to bottom. I plan to do that."

"Sen. Manchin is very interested in seeing that we appropriately reform the foreign aid distributed from this country. I know he is going to be one of these voices who will be trying to do that in the next Congress.

"This amendment was not the way to do it. It was not something that needed to pass the United States Senate," Corker said.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.

 


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