Republicans Propose To Keep $1.3 Billion in Military Aid to Egypt
Republicans on the House Appropriations subcommittee, which oversees foreign aid, have proposed military aid to Egypt be kept at $1.3 billion next year. This figure comes in at slightly below President Barack Obama's request of $1.55 billion for 2014 budget. Continuing military aid to Egypt has received the support of Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who stated that "they are worth the investment." The proposal comes with several conditions.
The proposed House bill requires that Egypt "demonstrate a commitment to a pluralistic and inclusive democracy," including planning for and conducting free and fair elections, protecting freedom of expression, association, assembly, religion and due process of law.It also requires that the Cairo government take action to eliminate smuggling networks between Egypt and Gaza and to combat terrorism. It preserves existing language making the aid contingent upon Egypt's government respecting the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.A Senate Appropriations subcommittee is due to begin considering its version of the measure this month. The two bills would have to be reconciled before going to Obama for his signature.
U.S. military aid to Egypt has been the source of much controversy with some legislators, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), arguing strongly against the move since the government of Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by the military on July 3 this year.
Last week Paul introduced a bill to prevent the United States from sending aid to the Egyptian government, stating that "Egypt is the latest example of the Obama Administration's misguided foreign policy.
"The overthrow of the Egyptian government was a coup d'état, and the law is clear that when a coup takes place, foreign aid must stop. But, the president still plans to continue to send aid to Egypt, at a pace of more than $1.3 billion per year."
The Obama administration has given no clear indication as to whether it regards the overthrow of Mr. Morsi's government as a coup. The overthrow of the Morsi government has not dampened the willingness of the administration to send weapons to Egypt. As recently as July 10, defense officials confirmed that four F-16 fighter jets were to be delivered to Egypt.