Bipartisan calls in US to cut Egypt aid

Riot police clear supporters of Mohamed Morsi from Rabaâ„¢a al-Adawiya square.

A growing number of US lawmakers call on Washington to suspend its military and economic aid to Egypt following a violent crackdown on protesters by the military-led government which left nearly 800 dead.

The White House, while deciding on Friday to cancel a planned joint military exercise, has indicated it will continue sending $1.5 billion in military and economic aid to Egypt.

That decision is now being challenged even by Democratic leaders who have generally supported the Obama administrationâ„¢s approach.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the first Muslim elected to Congress, said he would end aid to Egypt.

“I would cut off aid but engage in intense diplomacy in Egypt and in the region to try to say, look, we will restore aid when you stop the bloodshed in the street and set up a path towards democracy that you were on before,” Ellison said on Sunday.

“In my mind, there’s no way to say that this was not a coup. It is. We should say so. And then follow our own law, which says we cannot fund the coup leaders,” he said.

Mohamed Morsi– Egyptâ„¢s first democratically elected president– was removed from power by the military on July 3.

The White House has not called the ouster a coup as such acknowledgement would have ended the US military aid to Egypt in accordance with US law.

Senator John McCain, a top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who initially supported the continuation of US aid to Egypt following the overthrow of Morsi, said he now supported withholding the aid.

Å“I wanted to give [Egyptâ„¢s military leaders] an opportunity to do the right thing after the coup had taken place,” McCain said on CNNâ„¢s Å“State of the Union” program. But after the crackdown, aid should be suspended, he said.

Å“There are many areas where we could exercise influence over the generals, and weâ„¢re not doing any of it,” the senator said.

Senator Bob Corker (R, Tenn.) also said that the US should Å“recalibrate” its military aid to Egypt while keeping open lines of communication with the strategically important ally.

“I think the actions of the last week no doubt are going to cause us to suspend aid,” he said on ABC on Sunday.

The White House has not responded to the growing calls from lawmakers for suspension of the aid.

Egypt’s military-led government has said it is “reviewing” its strategic relationships with the US.

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Republished from: Press TV