US Lawmakers Ease Threats to Cut Aid to Egypt

Some U.S. legislators who proposed ending U.S. military and development aid to Egypt now appear to be rethinking their original position, reflecting a growing consensus that the United States should preserve its leverage with Egypt’s military.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who previously noted that aid cuts are on the table, said Feb. 8 that “it is just not the right time to threaten that,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has also softened his position, saying he would oppose new allocations of aid to Egypt until the situation in the country is resolved.

Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations, previously sought the cancellation of all U.S. aid to the country if Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak does not immediately step down.

Since Jan. 25, Egyptians have been taking to the streets in a bid to topple Mubarak’s three-decade rule. Mubarak’s administration has since made concessions, including the sacking of several high-level officials, appointment of a vice president and Mubarak’s pledge not to run in September’s elections. These steps, however, have so far failed to appease the demonstrators.

Th U.S. government has been resisting calls to suspend U.S. aid to Egypt, with several key legislators and the country’s military leadership urging caution over the issue.

Pentagon officials have noted that suspending or reducing aid could have “the opposite effect” of the what the United States wants to see happen in Egypt, the Los Angeles Times says.

>> US Still Undecided on Future of Aid to Egypt>> US Legislators Debate Possible Aid Cutoff to Egypt

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.