House Passes Thomas Massie’s Amendment Blocking Military Aid to Egypt

As the nation patiently waited for the U.S. House to debate the amendment introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) to the House’s $598 billion defense bill, another amendment cosponsored by Reps. Amash, Ted Yoho (R-FL) and introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was approved on voice votes.

According to Massie, “the Constitution prohibits the president from unilaterally spending American taxpayer dollars on military operations without congressional approval.” The bill was a response to concerns related to the Obama Administration’s difficulty to talk openly about the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi and use the term coup d’etat to describe it. Rep. Massie’s amendment passed with barely sufficient dissent to call it an objection, which demonstrates the House’s unanimous animosity towards President Obama’s unwillingness to abide by the law, which states that military or financial assistance to a country whose president was overthrown, should be suspended. While the law sustains that a coup is enough to halt assistance, it also stipulates that it’s up to the administration to recognize the veracity of the deposition.

Early on Thursday, the Obama administration notified Congress that it has not declared what happened to Egypt as a coup, which is by law, enough to preserve the annual $1.5 billion in aid the United States provides to Egypt.

Rep Massie’s amendment, which was added to the House Defense Appropriations Act, keeps the U.S. Military from providing assistance directly or indirectly by blocking any funding to Egyptian military groups without first obtaining approval from Congress. This news might hit the middle east’s most populous country hard, especially after the International Monetary Fund decided to oppose direct involvement after Egypt’s interim government asked the organization for a loan. According to Reuters, a spokesperson declared that the IMF and Egypt will only engage in talks concerning the $4.8 billion loan once the government is legitimized and recognized by the international community.

Thomas Massie pointed out that a recent poll shows that most Americans oppose aid to Egypt, especially amid the political turmoil the country is now experiencing. While 35% of Republicans say aid to Egypt should shrink, 31% reported being absolutely against any type of aid to the region. Democrats felt similar with 32% saying they would rather see a reduction to foreign aid, and 27% saying all aid should be interrupted.

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