Key House Republican: Now not time to withhold Egypt funding
January 31st, 2011
06:21 PM ET
12 years ago

Key House Republican: Now not time to withhold Egypt funding

Washington (CNN) - A House Republican with significant influence over funding for Egypt tells CNN she does not believe the United States should threaten to withhold financial aid to that country right now.

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the House subcommittee in charge of foreign aid, said Monday it would not be in America's interest to use any of the $1.5 billion in assistance as a stick to try to force Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to put democratic reforms in place.

"Things are changing as we speak and the most important thing for the us is to do whatever we can do to help towards stability in Egypt," Granger told CNN in a telephone interview from her Texas congressional district. "Egypt has been an ally and a friend."

Granger noted that most of the financial aid the U.S. provides to Egypt – about $1.3 billion – goes toward the military, which appears to be a stabilizing force well received by demonstrators.

"From everything that I have seen in the conversations I have had, the military is respected in Egypt and has been one of the more stabilizing aspects of what's going on, and we have to be very aware of that, and people who are not aware of that, make them aware of it," Granger said.

The Texas Republican says she is in constant contact with the State Department and says she believes she and other top congressional Republicans are on the same page with the Obama administration on the questions of foreign aid.

Still, Granger said officials are actively monitoring the situation and that if evidence emerges suggesting U.S. military equipment is used improperly, then the administration and Congress should perhaps consider withholding assistance to Egypt.

Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. financial aid, behind Israel.

So far, most members of Congress in both parties appear to be taking this same measured approach as Granger.

Democrat Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, who chairs the Senate subcommittee in charge of foreign aid, is the author of a provision that restricts U.S. financial assistance to countries guilty of human rights violations.

On Friday he warned that any "misuse of force, with or without U.S. supplied ordnance, would threaten the safety of civilians and draw the condemnation of a watching world."

Other top Democrats are more unequivocal in their support for continuing aid to Egypt.

Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement Monday saying the U.S. should "remain committed to our ongoing assistance programs for Egypt, both military and civilian."

"Since the days of Anwar Sadat, who expelled Soviet forces from Egypt and made peace with Israel, the United States and Egypt have had very close ties. This relationship is vital to our security and the security of our allies, and I intend to do everything I can to ensure it continues into the future," Berman said.

Filed under: Congress • Egypt • House
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Whatever

    Oh I thoguht the GOP wanted to make cuts to budget. This would be an instant saver. I see when it comes to JOBs, JOBs, JOBs they have no way of figuing that out, however, when it comes giving U.S. taxpayer money to foreign countries they are all for it!!! B.S.

    January 31, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Did she ask Kyl about this? Where are the baggers on this? Sending $1.5 billion in military aid may not promote a lot of democracy.

    January 31, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Thaddeus and Kay vs. Kyl?

    January 31, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. EddyL

    I have a word for Palin also: IMBECILE!

    January 31, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. KenneyP of Colorado

    How about now it NOT the right time to be giving away taxpayer's money to another country! Republicans talk about how Obama has spent just over 1.75 BILLION dollars since he became President yet here we are giving away 1.5 BILLION to another country. If we didn't give Egypt 1.5 BILLION dollars and Israel 3 BILLION dollars PER YEAR we might not be in such as bad a shape as we are now.

    January 31, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. Video Guy

    Of course she would say that. and if the President said he did not what to withhold aid, she would say that we should. The GOPs only interest now is to make the President look bad.

    January 31, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    A little out of touch are we? The aid is mostly military. You want to cut our Social Security, Medicare, investments in education and clean energy to send billions of dollars we do not have to build up another countries military. Why don't you just move there Kay....I moved from the state of Texas 5 years ago....glad I did

    January 31, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. Sgt Schultz

    So much for Republican claims to fame about not spending $. Gee what's 1.5 B per year to support a dictator when he doesn't have any oil? How about we stop spending ALL $ in foreign aid to the Middle East. Israel and their Arab neighbors have boatloads of cash. Tired of all our taxpayer $ going over there while they sock it to us with high oil prices and Israel using us to fight their own battles.

    January 31, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    She makes a good point. Our primary interest right now is to see this uprising be non-destructive. It does not look like our support is being used in ways that we could object to. We do not always have to interject ourselves into crises.

    January 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. Inmyopinion

    President Obama should ask Mubarak to resign. I don't think we can turn a blind eye to Egyptians losing their freedom. We the United States can't stand by and do nothing about human rights violations and allow Mubarak to suppress Egyptians.

    January 31, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Yeah, just keep pouring money in without knowing whether we're funding the military or other unknown players. We've seen this play out over and over again in the Middle East and I guess Ms. Granger hasn't been paying attention or better yet she needs another job.

    January 31, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. joff

    Why are we funding them in the first place?

    January 31, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. Lee

    Why exactly are we giving "financial aid" to them in the first place? We should cut the numerous umbilical cords that are tethered to this country to help get our house back in order.

    January 31, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Oceanside Kid

    I can't take this anymore, the GOP doesn't want to withhold funding to another country (give away money), and they don't won't to fund the people that give the money to fund other countries, something is incredibly wrong with this picture. If this isn't enough proof that the GOP doesn't care about the American people first, then nothing will convince some people of this, and I will lose all hope for this great nation, cause some people in congress are better actors than some of the ones we have in Hollywood.

    January 31, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |