Opinion

Lawmakers call on Obama to suspend US aid to Egypt

Congressional Republicans are urging President Obama to suspend aid to Egypt until Congress approves a way to continue funding for a country now under control of a military government.

Since Wednesday, the Egyptian military has overthrown its elected government, installed an interim president of its choosing, placed the former president under house arrest, rounded up hundreds of his supporters,  closed television stations and other media outlets, and deployed soldiers in the streets where, according to reports Monday, they fired on protesters, killing at least 40.

obamaegyptcoupAs the Occupy people would say, this is what a coup looks like.

A U.S. law that prohibits aid to countries where the military has taken power in a coup could put $1.3 billion in direct aid to Egypt at risk, according to a Washington Free Beacon article Monday by Adam Kredo.

One solution that would allow aid to Egypt to continue would be for Congress to grant “specific statutory waiver authority” to the president, as former President Bush received from Congress to get U.S. aid to Pakistan after 9/11, the Daily Caller reported.

Without that waiver authority granted by Congress, Egyptian aid — almost all of it military —  could be suspended.

But that’s only if it’s really a “coup.” And so far, the Obama administration has resisted calling it that.

On Sunday’s news shows, some lawmakers said that has to be addressed.

“I think the law is very clear on this and I think we ought to be honest with ourselves, and I don’t think that skirting the law is the right thing to do,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said on “Meet the Press,” according to the Free Beacon.  “The president should come to Congress and make the case … because I do believe the law is very clear on this.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was blunter, according to the Free Beacon, calling the Egyptian crisis – the “coup” —  in part a failure of Obama’s leadership.

“It was a coup and it was the second time in two-and-a-half years that we have seen the military step in,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“It’s a strong indicator of the lack of American leadership and influence, since we’ve urged the military not to do that and reluctantly I believe that we have to suspend aid until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election,” McCain said.

“The fact is the United States should not be supporting this coup and it’s a tough call.”

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