For all the talk of Sen. Rand Paul’s foreign policy view, he got rolled in the Senate this morning on stripping aid to Egypt. And no doubt, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who’s been engaged in a heated sparring match with Paul over libertarianism in the Republican party, Superstorm Sandy aid, pork-barrel politics and national security — is smiling.
The appropriations bill amendment proposed by Paul, R-Ky., that would stop $1.5 billion of foreign aid to Egypt failed in the Senate.
Eighty-six senators voted to table the amendment while 13 senators voted in favor of it.
Ahead of the vote, Paul defended his amendment, saying the money allotted to foreign aid for Egypt could be redirected to fund infrastructure projects in the U.S. as well as help struggling cities like Detroit.
“You have to understand that American aid doesn’t go to the Egyptian people. It goes to the despots and the dictators that run the place,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “The president has now come out and he says he wants some grand bargain to take some new money and actually work on infrastructure. Mr. President, it’s right here. I’m offering it today.”
Senators Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., who are planning a trip to Egypt as soon as next week, each warned of the potential damage that would be caused by pulling aid from Egypt at a time when the country is roiled in violent protests.
“If we cut off aid now, then I cannot tell you the consequences of what that would mean in terms of moving in the direction we would all like. Unintended consequences to this decision jump out pretty clearly in my mind, and most of them are bad,” Graham said. “I do know this, that if Egypt goes, the entire region blows up.”
“This amendment would send the wrong message at the wrong time,” McCain said. “Today is not the day to take a step that could have repercussions that over time damage the United States’ vital national security interests.”
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the amendment “good politics, but bad policy.”
all the talk of Rand Paul’s foreign policy view, he got rolled in the Senate on stripping aid to Egypt.