The Obama administration’s plan to transfer $450 million in cash to Egypt hit a roadblock Friday as a top House committee chairwoman blocked the move, saying it warrants further review.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, said the State Department had notified
Congress of plans to move the money to the new government of President
Mohammed Morsi as Cairo struggles economically. The money is part of the
nearly $1 billion in debt relief that President Barack Obama had
promised the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt earlier this year.
“This proposal comes to Congress at a point when the U.S.-Egypt
relationship has never been under more scrutiny, and rightly so,” the
chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations said
in a statement. “I am not convinced of the urgent need for this
assistance and I cannot support it at this time. … I have placed a hold
on these funds.”
The relationship between the United States and Egypt has been rocky
since the overthrow of U.S. ally President Hosni Mubarak last year. The
Egyptian government angered Washington when it cracked down on numerous
democracy advocates and groups, including three U.S.-funded
nongovernmental organizations, earlier this year.
It also doesn’t help matters that Morsi has promised to push the U.S. to release
convicted radical Islamist terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as
the “Blind Sheikh.” In fact, when he was elected, Morsi called the Blind
Sheikh’s release a matter of great importance to him. (Continues)