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WASHINGTON – Despite the upheaval in Egypt and a Republican push for steep cuts
to foreign aid, Egypt was slated Friday to receive its traditional $1.3 billion
in military assistance from the US for 2011.
The foreign aid spending
bill announced Friday also provides up to $250 million in economic assistance to
Egypt “with the understanding that the government will undertake significant
economic and democratic reforms,” according to a statement released by Texas
Republican Kay Granger, chairwoman of the House appropriations subcommittee on
Obama welcomes commitments from Egypt's army
Pro-Israel activists decry GOP senator's call to cut aid
Under the aid bill, Israel is also to be fully funded
with the $3b. in military aid it is due in 2011 under a memorandum signed by the
two countries, as well as with increases to missile defense programs proposed
last year, totaling $415m. Of that, $205m. will be a first-time allocation to
the Iron Dome short-range missile defense program, with the balance going to the
Arrow long-range system and David’s Sling medium-range project.
addition, the Palestinian Authority is set to receive $552m., despite questions
from some GOP members, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, about the utility of that aid, and whether the current
Palestinian leaders are committed to peace.
Military aid to Lebanon,
however, would only be approved in the event that the secretary of state
determines it is “in the national interest of the United States,” according to
“The spending priorities in the bill reflect the
fluid and tenuous situation in the Middle East,” Granger
“Volatility in the region highlights the importance of reaffirming
our strategic partnerships and commitments. The events in the Middle East have a
direct impact on the safety and security of the United States and our
The assistance package covers foreign aid funding through the
end of the 2011 fiscal year, since Congress did not succeed in passing a bill
last session to cover the whole year. The previous Congress did, however, pass a
threemonth budget, due to expire on March 4, which continued 2010 funding levels
and therefore did not include the new missile defense allocations or the
memorandum’s increase in Israel aid from $2.77b. to $3b.
had expressed concern that Israel would not receive its full funding, and
criticized more broadly the GOP push to cut the foreign aid budget.
high funding levels of aid to Middle Eastern countries stand in contrast to many
other aspects of the foreign operations budget, which was cut by 21 percent
overall – or $11.7b. – from what the White House originally requested for 2011,
according to Granger’s office. Altogether, it was reduced by $3.8b. from the
2010 level to $44.9b. this year.
The cuts include freezing State
Department salaries, scaling back contributions to the United Nations and
rescinding unspent appropriations, Granger’s office said.
proposal must be approved by the full House as well as by the
Democrat-controlled Senate before being sent for US President Barack Obama’s