Proposed US House bill keeps Egypt military aid at $1.3 bn

Reuters, Thursday 18 Jul 2013

US House of Representatives propose bill to keep Egypt military aid unchanged for next year

File photo: Egyptian army tanks in North Sinai in 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Leaders of the US House of Representatives panel in charge of aid to Egypt proposed on Thursday that military aid be kept at $1.3 billion next year, subject to conditions including the government planning and holding elections.

However, the bill proposed by the Republican leaders of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign aid did not include the annual $250 million in economic assistance that has also been appropriated for Egypt in recent years.

That means the $250 million was not included in planning for fiscal 2014, which starts on 1 October 2013, but the money has also not been specifically prohibited, a congressional aide said.

The subcommittee is to meet on Friday to begin debate on the bill, which could clear the way for its consideration by the full committee as early as next week.

Washington officials have been grappling with the thorny question of how to handle the annual aid it sends to Egypt since the military ousted elected President Mohamed Mursi early this month.

US law bars aid to countries where there has been a military coup. Lawmakers say that determination is up to the Obama administration, not Congress.

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