Rand Paul Proposal to Cut Off Egypt Aid Fails
The final vote was 86-13.
Sen. Rand Paul's legislation to cut off $1.5 billion in aid to the Egyptian regime has failed. The final vote was 86-13:
Paul, a longtime foe of foreign aid, argued that the U.S. should not be spending money abroad when America's cities, including Detroit, are crumbling. His proposal won the vote of Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and 11 others among the Senate's most conservative members, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Charles Grassley of Iowa.
Some human rights advocates have also called for a halt to aid, but none of the Senate liberals who typically back human rights causes joined Paul.
Opponents of the amendment argued that, despite the Egyptian military's bloody treatment of the Islamist opposition, ties with the military are essential for preserving U.S. strategic interests in the region and will enable U.S. officials to push Egypt's generals toward a more moderate course domestically. Opponents also emphasized that Israel strongly favors continuation of the aid to Egypt.
It's instructive to compare this to Justin Amash's effort in the House to defund the NSA's mass collection of American phone records. Amash's bill managed to appeal to both the dissident left and the dissident right, and as a result it nearly passed. Aid to foreign dictatorships is an issue that ought to bring human-rights liberals and anti-spending conservatives together, and in this case Paul offered the left a sweetener: His proposal was introduced as an amendment to a transportation spending bill, and it would have redirected the aid to repairing infrastructure at home. Nonetheless, no Democrats voted for it; and without a transpartisan alliance, the measure lost by a much larger margin than Amash's.