US aid to Jordan was an important topic during King Hussein's talks with the administration and on Capitol Hill. Riots over economic austerity in Jordan brought home to the King's American hosts the seriousness of Jordan's financial needs. The Jordanians found an evident desire to help Jordan deal with its approximately $6 billion debt, but one tempered by the US budget crunch, says a senior Jordanian official.
He says his government hopes the US will not only be able to provide the modest amounts of military and economic aid proposed this year, but will look for other indirect ways to help Jordan weather its economic problems. He points out, for example, that the $48 million in US military assistance proposed in the new budget for Jordan is $13 million short of what Jordan needs just to maintain the US equipment in its arsenal.
US officials and congressional aides say there is plenty of good will to help Jordan this year, but they are not sure what can be done given the few aid dollars to go around.