WASHINGTON — Two key senators are suggesting that the U.S. take a harder line with Pakistan after the Pakistani government closed its border crossings with Afghanistan and demanded that the U.S. vacate a drone base.
Pakistan acted after NATO airstrikes on Saturday allegedly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at two posts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier.
Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, says "tough diplomacy" is needed and U.S. aid must be contingent upon Pakistan's cooperation in fighting al-Qaida.
His Democratic counterpart, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, cites "the incompetence and corruption" in Afghanistan and "complicity" in Pakistan
Their comments on "Fox News Sunday" are evidence of Pakistan's relationship with the U.S. and Congress, which approves billions of dollars in military and civilian aid for Islamabad.
Also on the program, the two key senators dueled over payroll tax cuts.
Kyl said Republicans view the payroll tax cuts as being different from income tax cuts.
"The payroll tax doesn't go into general revenue. It supports Social Security," Kyl said. "You can't keep extending the payroll tax holiday and have a secure Social Security."
Kyl also criticized a Democratic proposal to impose a so-called millionaire's tax to pay for extending the payroll tax holiday. "The payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation. We don’t think that’s a good way to do it," Kyl said.
Durbin responded: "The Republican position is they'd raise the payroll tax on working families.That just defies logic. What we should do is to help these working families struggle through."
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders agreed to the one-year payroll tax holida a year ago as part of a massive budget deal.
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