Some in Congress have called for cutting off aid to Egypt.
Why aren’t all in Congress calling for cutting off aid?
Instead, new money will continue to be available under the terms of a six-month government funding bill that passed the House last week and faces a Senate procedural vote on Wednesday. The measure allows for almost $130 million a month in military and economic aid to Egypt since it permits aid to flow at the same rate as current funding.
Conservative GOP Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana mounted a futile protest during House debate on the stopgap spending bill last week.
“I want to know if any of it is going to Libya or Egypt,” Burton said. “Our embassies have been attacked. An ambassador has been killed. The Muslim Brotherhood runs Egypt – and we’re going to give them money? I would like to have an answer.”
Burton didn’t get an answer. But it’s clear that no money from the temporary spending bill would go to the government of Libya, which unlike Egypt has ample oil resources. Some humanitarian aid could end up flowing into Libya but it’s not mandated.
As for aid to Egypt, it would be permitted at an annualized rate of $1.55 billion – $250 million in economic aid and $1.3 million in military aid, though the actual flow of money is supposed to be contingent on the administration’s willingness to certify that Egypt has met stringent conditions demanded by Congress, including demonstrating that it is taking specific steps toward democracy.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, has the authority to waive such congressional conditions placed on aid if it would be in the United States’ national security interest. She issued such a waiver in March.
“The incidents of the past week highlight how important our work is. The United States must and will remain strongly engaged in the world. … The United States must be a force for peace and progress,” Clinton said Tuesday. “That is worth striving and sacrificing for and nothing that happened last week changes that fundamental fact.”
New, somewhat more stringent rules demanded this summer by Capitol Hill’s appropriations panels will have to wait, however, for passage of the full-year foreign aid bill. One rule suggested by the Senate panel would require the administration to certify that Egypt is being ruled by a democratically-elected civilian government that protects a variety of civil liberties.
The tougher certification requirements still could be waived by Clinton, though approval from key congressional committees is required before the money can actually be disbursed.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is filibustering the Senate, which requires that the maximum amount of time be spent on each vote, holding up legislation such as the spending resolution, until he gets a vote on his own bill.
Paul wants a Senate vote on his bill to end all foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt. On Wednesday night, Reid announced that he and Paul came to an agreement to have a vote on Paul’s bill if he stopped holding up the continuing spending resolution, but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) then objected to the idea because he disapproves of Paul’s bill.
Reid said he’s still hopeful that an agreement can be reached so that the Senate can finish up its business Thursday evening and adjourn until after the elections. If not, weekend votes would be required.
These thieves need to adjourn permanently. The House vote took place on September 13, two days AFTER the attacks on Americans and see who still voted for funding to our enemies, here.