Granger: No aid for Egypt if Muslim Brotherhood has large presence
President Barack Obama announced $2 billion in new aid to Egypt in his May 19 speech on the Middle East, but top appropriators in the House said on Monday that they don’t support giving the money to any government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood. House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) ...
President Barack Obama announced $2 billion in new aid to Egypt in his May 19 speech on the Middle East, but top appropriators in the House said on Monday that they don't support giving the money to any government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood.
President Barack Obama announced $2 billion in new aid to Egypt in his May 19 speech on the Middle East, but top appropriators in the House said on Monday that they don’t support giving the money to any government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood.
House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) and ranking Democrat Nita Lowey (D-NY) spoke at a Monday afternoon panel at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington. Asked by The Cable if they supported Obama’s new aid initiative to Egypt, especially if the Muslim Brotherhood sees increased power as part of an elected government, Granger said, "The answer for me is no. I don’t approve of it."
The crowd erupted in applause.
"Who is the new Egyptian government? We don’t know. That’s the problem," Granger went on.
"Because it was a bottom-up uprising, we don’t have the organization, we don’t have the parties, we don’t have what it takes to win an election. The Muslim Brotherhood does, because they’ve been there so long. So they have the opportunity to take a much larger position in the government that they had before," she said. "We have got to watch it, and we have to be very, very careful about giving over money to a government, and we don’t know what that government is."
The issue of foreign assistance to Egypt was part of a larger discussion about funding emerging democracies that include elements hostile to U.S. interests. Granger and Lowey, for example, promised that no U.S. money would go to a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas.
Lowey said that she supported using the money to build Egyptian democracy, but emphasized that Congress was not going to appropriate it and Obama would have to find it somewhere else.
In his May 19 speech, Obama promised to relieve $1 billion of Egypt’s debt, and also guarantee another $1 billion in loans that he said is needed "to finance infrastructure and job creation."
"We are not going to appropriate this money to the Egyptian government," said Lowey. "We are currently giving them billions of dollars in military aid and we’re going to have to see about that as well," she said.
"That is not new money. That money is coming from multilateral banks, money that’s been appropriated… it’s not just U.S.," she said. "For the sake of the other cuts in the budget, we don’t want it to be new money."
On May 18, a senior administration official provided details of the funding plan, which called for the United States to provide Egypt with the equivalent of $2 billion over several years, as well as billions more from international institutions.
"We anticipate that the debt swap, both relief of debt and the investments that would ensue, would amount to roughly a billion over a few years and that the loan guarantees would support roughly an additional billion," the official said. "There will be additional financing coming from the multilateral development banks as well, several billion dollars."
As for the overall funding picture for foreign aid, Lowey said that appropriators are expecting a $5 billion cut from the president’s request in 2012.
Granger criticized the cuts made in the 2011 budget.
"It was a big mistake that they cut foreign operations," she said. "It is going to be a very, very tough year."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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