Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., proposed legislation Thursday aiming to halt the $1.5 billion in foreign aid the U.S. provides to Egypt.
“Egypt is the latest example of the Obama Administration’s misguided foreign policy,” Paul said in a statement. “The overthrow of the Egyptian government was a coup d’état, and the law is clear that when a coup takes place, foreign aid must stop. But, the President still plans to continue to send aid to Egypt, at a pace of more than $1.3 billion per year. By the President’s refusal to call the situation in Egypt a ‘coup’ and continuing the flow of foreign assistance to Egypt, he is forthrightly saying ‘I am ignoring the rule of law.’”
The bill is the first piece of legislation addressing the issue, but multiple senators have called on the administration to end its aid to Egypt, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
“[I]t is difficult for me to conclude that what happened was anything other than a coup in which the military played a decisive role,” McCain said in a statement Monday.
“Current U.S. law is very clear about the implications for our foreign assistance in the aftermath of a military coup against an elected government, and the law offers no ability to waive its provisions,” McCain said. “I do not want to suspend our critical assistance to Egypt, but I believe that is the right thing to do at this time.”
U.S. law dictates foreign aid cannot be provided to a country if the military has “play[ed] a decisive role” in a “coup d’etat or decree” to remove a “duly elected head of government.” The White House has said it is assessing what to label what happened in Egypt last week.
On Monday, the White House indicated it does not immediately plan on adjusting the foreign aid given to Egypt.
“It would not be in the best interests of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs to Egypt,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told ABC’s Jonathan Karl at Monday’s daily press briefing.
ABC News’ Chris Good contributed to this report.