According to USAID, “the United States and Egypt have collaborated closely in economic development and regional stability… U.S. economic assistance through USAID has totaled almost $26 billion since 1975.”
And here’s $1.7 billion more. From AP: “House committee approves foreign aid bill”
WASHINGTON – A House committee approved a bill Thursday that would give Egypt $1.7 billion after rejecting a Democratic lawmaker’s effort to withhold some of the aid until the country makes political reforms.
On Egypt, the bill fully funds President Bush’s request, including $50 million for programs encouraging democratic reforms and $50 million for education. Money would be withheld until Egypt reformed certain parts of its financial sector.
Administration officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill call Egypt an important ally in the Middle East. Nevertheless, they have called for greater democracy in the Arab nation and have raised concerns about Egypt’s human rights record.
Rep. David Obey, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, sought to send a message about Egypt’s record on democracy. His amendment would have withheld $200 million intended for new weapons and equipment for the Egyptian military until Congress determined progress has been made on political reforms.
Democracy is not the panacea that Obey may believe it is, as demonstrated by Islamist exploitation of the democratic process, but there are plenty of reasons to withhold aid from Egypt.
“It is absolutely urgent that we send some signal to the Egyptian government that they’ve got to change … before it’s too late to matter,” Obey, D-Wis., said.
But Kolbe called Obey’s amendment “the wrong approach” and said that Egypt would just get the money for new weapons and equipment from other countries. “That means China, that means Russia,” Kolbe said.
That means their money, not ours.