Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday doubled down on his opposition to continued U.S. aid to Egypt following the toppling of the nation’s government, introducing legislation that would halt aid in light of what the bill defines as a military coup.
Introducing the proposal, Paul said that the White House’s handling of the situation in Egypt is yet another example of President Barack Obama’s mismanaged foreign policy.
“The overthrow of the Egyptian government was a coup d’état, and the law is clear that when a coup takes place, foreign aid must stop,” the Senator said. “But, the President still plans to continue to send aid to Egypt, at a pace of more than $1.3 billion per year. By the President’s refusal to call the situation in Egypt a ‘coup’ and continuing the flow of foreign assistance to Egypt, he is forthrightly saying ‘I am ignoring the rule of law.'”
Earlier in the year, Paul introduced an amendment to the debt limit bill that would halt a U.S. plan to provide Egypt with four F-16 fighter jets. The amendment was handily defeated in the Senate 79-19. Given the current state of affairs in the country, Paul expressed particular displeasure that the Administration has not moved to halt the plan.
The White House has repeatedly said that it would continue to monitor the situation in Egypt, but that halting foreign and military aid is not in the best interest of the United States.
“While we are concerned about events that lead to the removal of President (Mohammed) Morsi from office, the fact is that millions of Egyptians do not see what happened as a coup,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday. Because, he said, Egyptians “amply demonstrated that there should be a change in government.”
While Paul’s bill has an uncertain Congressional future, he has been joined by lawmakers from whom he generally doesn’t get a great deal of support in calling for an end to Egyptian aid until it is clear who is in charge in the nation.
Even vehement Syrian-rebel backer Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has said the Presidential Administration should cut off aid.