Washington (CNN) – The turmoil in Egypt is poised to land on the U.S. Senate floor this week. Sources in both parties confirm to CNN that Democratic leaders have tentatively green-lighted a vote on whether to cut off $1.5 billion in aid to Cairo.
The proposal from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, is not new. A similar measure of his received just 10 votes last fall. This week's version is not expected to pass either, but a Democratic senate leadership aide said Monday they expect it to get more support than last time, following the military takeover in Egypt.
Both parties have internal disagreements over this issue, but Democrats believe this vote may be tougher for Republicans, who are divided between libertarian sentiments against foreign aid and conservative bullishness to use funding as leverage overseas.
For the White House, the vote comes as officials try to thread a slim policy needle, refusing to determine whether the military takeover of the Egyptian government was a coup. If it were officially labeled as a coup, U.S. law dictates that foreign aid should stop.
Aid to Egypt is becoming a perennial source of political tension in Washington. Last year, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a waiver to allow U.S. funds to flow to Cairo, despite crackdowns against groups aiming to build democracy in the country. Fellow Democrats, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, openly expressed disappointment at the decision, saying the Egyptian government needed to meet the full conditions of transitioning to a democracy.
Senate leaders have yet to decide which day this week they will bring up the latest Egyptian aid measure and also if they will consider it as an amendment to the appropriations bill now on the floor or if it will move as a standalone bill.