US Changes Tune on Killing Egypt's Aid

Top lawmakers figure out that might not be such a bright idea
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2011 9:36 AM CST
An Egyptian Army soldier looks out of the turret of his tank as anti-government protesters pray at the continuing protest in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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(Newser) – Many top US lawmakers are backing off their calls to cut aid flowing to Egypt, as consensus builds that the money offers necessary leverage over the Egyptian military. John McCain, who had previously said that aid cuts were “on the table,” said yesterday that it is “just not the right time to threaten that,” the LA Times observes. Patrick Leahy, meanwhile, had originally said that he knew of no lawmakers who’d vote for aid, but his latest statement refers only to new aid.

The White House, for that matter, has gone through a similar about-face. Early in the crisis it warned that aid cuts were a possibility, but withdrew the threat within days. President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal is expected to include continued aid. Most of the $1.5 billion the US sends Egypt each year goes to its military, which the US believes will play a key role in the transition to a new government.

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