US House panel approves aid for Egypt, Israel

A United States House of Representatives committee approved a bill Thursday that would give Egypt $1.7 billion (€1.3 billion) after rejecting a Democratic lawmaker's effort to withhold some of the aid until the country makes political reforms. On a voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee signed off on a $21.3 billion (€16.7 billion) measure that would pay for a range of foreign assistance programs for the budget year that begins October 1. The bill would provide $3.4 billion (€2.6 billion) to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide, $2.4 billion (€1.8 billion) in aid for Israel, and $2 billion (€1.5 billion) for the administration's hallmark program designed to reward developing nations for a commitment to democracy. On Egypt, the bill fully funds President George W. Bush's request, including $50 million (€39 million) for programs encouraging democratic reforms and $50 million (€39.2 million) for education. Money would be withheld until Egypt reformed certain parts of its financial sector.