Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), Chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, that oversees foreign aid is blocking $450 million in U.S. foreign aid to Egypt.
In a statement on Friday Rep. Granger said that the State Department had notified Congress of the plans to transfer the money to the new government of Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morshi. Morsi has been in the news recently lecturing the U.S. about freedom of speech and demanding that the U.S. impose blasphemy laws, which are from Shariah.
In light of the attacks and the fact that Granger doesn't see an urgent need, she is putting a hold on the funds.
"This proposal comes to Congress at a point when the U.S.-Egypt relationship has never been under more scrutiny, and rightly so," the chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations said in a statement. "I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time. ... I have placed a hold on these funds."
Recently, demonstrators breached the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to protest an anti-Islam video, and some in Congress have called for cutting off aid. The United States provides Egypt with $1.55 billion annually , $250 million in economic aid and $1.3 billion in military aid.
The cash transfer would have come from money that had already been appropriated.
A senior State Department official said the United States remains committed to a democratic transition in Egypt and still sees support for economic growth as a vital way to protect peace and security. The official said the administration would work with Congress in the next days and weeks to make the case that the budget is in U.S. interests.
The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing negotiations and discussed the situation on condition of anonymity.
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