US President George W Bush has asked Congress to approve selling 18 new F-16 jets to Pakistan as a US nuclear deal with India progresses.
The administration submitted a package also including an option to purchase a further 18 jets and an offer to upgrade Pakistan's existing F-16 fleet.
Congress has 30 days to consider the deal with its traditional ally.
The state department said the deal was not related to the passage of a bill on nuclear co-operation with India.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee took an hour to endorse the Indian agreement by 16-2 on Thursday after it was cleared by a House of Representatives panel on Tuesday.
State department spokeswoman Julie Reside said the F-16 deal with Pakistan was not related to the agreement with its historic rival.
"We believe in treating each country individually," she said. "Each faces defence issues different from the other."
The sale was, she said, "part of an effort to broaden [America's] strategic partnership with Pakistan".
Indian and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir and both have nuclear arsenals.