Effort to stop Egypt aid fails in US Senate

Tea Party Republican Senator Rand Paul led unsuccessful bid to reroute aid to domestic US projects.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON – The Senate struck down a proposed amendment on Wednesday that would have immediately cut off US security assistance to Egypt.
The amendment, which 86 senators voted against, was an effort by Tea Party Republican Sen. Rand Paul to redirect the $1.5 billion in funding to the reconstruction of dilapidated roads and bridges across the United States.
Paul considers himself an isolationist on a range of foreign policy matters – foreign aid chief among them.
“The president sends billions of dollars to Egypt in the form of advanced fighter planes and tanks, while Detroit crumbles,” Paul said on the floor of the Senate, calling the law “unequivocal” on the issue.
US law on foreign assistance prohibits the funding of foreign governments that have experienced military coups.
The Obama administration has declined to determine whether a coup took place in Egypt on July 3, when president Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian army.
Sen. Bob Corker, ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was sympathetic to Paul’s arguments, though he still voted against the amendment.
“The frustration of our citizens regarding foreign aid, given the economic conditions we face, is understandable, so we have a responsibility to explain why American leadership in the world in many cases helps prevent our involvement in conflicts that would be far more costly,” Corker said.
“We should be the steady hand that pushes Egypt toward a peaceful transition to democracy without undermining our interests or Israel’s security, especially when conditions in the region are as they are today.”