Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday the United States was required by law to cut aid to Egypt following a coups d’etat.
“The Morsi government has been a great disappointment to the people of Egypt, and to all who wish Egypt a successful transition to responsive, representative government under the rule of law,” he said in a statement. “He squandered an historic opportunity, preferring to govern by fiat rather than work with other political parties to do what is best for all Egyptians. Egypt’s military leaders say they have no intent or desire to govern, and I hope they make good on their promise.”
“In the meantime, our law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree,” Leahy added. “As we work on the new budget, my committee also will review future aid to the Egyptian government as we wait for a clearer picture. As the world’s oldest democracy, this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to the principle that transfers of power should be by the ballot, not by force of arms.”
Indeed, President Obama agrees that a review of funds to Egypt is now a top priority.
President Barack Obama urged Egypt's military Wednesday to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government without delay, but stopped short of calling the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi a coup.
In a carefully worded statement, Obama said he was "deeply concerned" by the military's move to topple Morsi's government and suspend Egypt's constitution. He said he was ordering the U.S. government to assess what the military's actions meant for U.S. foreign aid to Egypt.
Under U.S. law, the government must suspend foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d'etat. The U.S. provides $1.5 billion a year to Egypt in military and economic assistance that is considered a critical U.S. national security priority.
Now the wheeling and dealing begins. A billion and a half is a pretty big carrot to a country that kind of has no real economy right now.
I'm hoping somebody in the White House has Mohamed ElBaradei's phone number on speed dial.