Sometimes it seems that when something makes perfect sense to us, Congress feels compelled to do the exact opposite. So it goes with foreign aid to countries that apparently don’t like us.
A temporary spending bill that will send billions of dollars in foreign aid is expected to be approved by Congress this week. This bill would deliver hundreds of millions in aid to Egypt. These are funds that were previously approved, but later placed on hold.
The measure would call for almost $130 million per month in military and economic aid to flow to Egypt. The funds are supposed to be contingent on the administration’s certification that Egypt is meeting specific conditions, including taking steps toward becoming a democracy.
The Secretary of State has the authority to waive congressional conditions on aid when she deems it in the interest of national security. Hillary Clinton issued her waiver last March.
Speaking last Tuesday, Clinton said, “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. That is worth striving and sacrificing for and nothing that happened last week changes that fundamental fact.”
Also on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney delivered a report that said, in part, as follows:
“We’re continuing to work with (Congress) on ways to support a stable, democratic transition in Egypt that is important for defeating extremism of the very kind that we just recently saw.” Carney continued, “We provide assistance to Egypt because it’s in our interests to help them advance regional security and uphold their treaty with Israel and transition to democracy.”
Not all members of Congress are on board. On FOX News last Sunday, Judge Jeanine Pirrointerviewed U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Jupiter, about our embassy attacks in North Africa and the Middle East which erupted Sept. 11. When questioned whether foreign aid to Egypt and Libya should be made conditional, West answered, “It’s not about attaching conditions. I think you need to send a very strong message; you need to cut off that aid.”
West isn’t the only one who feels this way. U.S. Rep. Dan Burton R-Ind. delivered a strong message on the House floor last week.
“I want to know if any of it is going to Libya or Egypt,” Burton asked. “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.”
For all I know, Burton is still in the well of the House, waiting for his answer.
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