Rick Perry Says Foreign Aid Would Start At Zero, Even For Israel

Republican candidates for president on the debate stage in South Carolina Saturday agreed that addressing the out-of-control national debt is essential for national security. At one point Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke of how his administration would grant foreign aid, with every country starting at “zero dollars:”

When asked by a Twitter user how this policy would apply to Israel, Perry responded that like every country, Israel would start at zero.

“Obviously Israel is a special ally and my bet is we would be funding them at some substantial level,” said Perry. “But it makes sense for everyone to come in at zero and make your case.”

Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that the United States ought to reconsider its foreign aid to Pakistan.

“They don’t deserve our foreign aid because they’re not being honest with us,” Perry said.

Perry’s idea was opposed by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Bachmann said, “I would reduce foreign aid to many, many countries, but there’s a problem because Pakistan has a nuclear weapon.” Santorum suggested that Pakistan “must be a friend of the United States” for the same reason.

“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,” said Perry at the CBS/National Journal GOP Debate.

For the 2012 fiscal year President Obama requested $50.8 billion for foreign aid.