Members of Congress are divided on what to do with Egypt’s $1.5 billion in foreign aid as U.S. law requires the suspension of taxpayer funding to countries where a democratically elected government is deposed by a military coup.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee told “Fox News Sunday” that funding should continue, and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said he is not anxious to kill the foreign spending.
But Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is insisting the purse strings be cut in the wake of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster by the country’s military. And House Republican Mike Rogers says the fact that Egypt toppled its president in a coup cannot be ignored.
Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel said that he also “agrees with Senator McCain” and that aid should be suspended until specific conditions are met, including the establishment of elections and a free press.
McCain, appearing Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said pointedly that the military’s action was a coup.
“It was a coup, and it was the second time in two-and-a-half years that we have seen the military step in. It’s a strong indicator of the lack of American leadership and influence,” McCain said. “Reluctantly I believe that we have to suspend aid until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election.”
However, McCain said doesn’t think aid can be pulled back because it’s “in the pipeline. But I hope that the pressure that it brings on the Egyptian military will make for a very rapid transition.”
“Mohammed Morsi was a terrible president. Their economy is in terrible shape thanks to their policies, but the fact is, the United States should not be supporting this coup,” McCain said.
President Barack Obama has not declared Morsi’s ouster by the country’s armed forces a military coup, if such a declaration is made and recognized by the State Department, U.S. foreign end would be eliminated.
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