McCain: Suspend US Aid to Egypt

Credit: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo

Sen. John McCain renewed his call today to suspend U.S. aid to Egypt, in light of the military's removal of democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

"[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 posted to his Senate website on 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."

McCain issued a similar call to discontinue aid Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," where he suggested that already-appropriated U.S. aid to Egypt should continue to flow. The U.S. gives $1.5 billion per year to Egypt.

The Obama administration is weighing its options.

Two administration officials, who declined to be named, told the Associated Press that the administration wants to avoid the "coup" designation and keep the aid flowing.

At today's White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told ABC's Jonathan Karl that cutting off aid to Egypt is not in U.S. interests, repeatedly stating that the White House is reviewing whether to designate Morsi's military removal as a "coup."

McCain said he hopes the U.S. can continue limited cooperation with Egypt's military to preserve security interests. He did not specify whether that meant money.

"I encourage the Obama Administration, together with the Congress, to explore creative and lawful means to cooperate with the Egyptian military on a limited basis, perhaps using Department of Defense authorities, to safeguard vital national security interests such as counterterrorism, intelligence sharing, border security, and the maintenance of regional peace," McCain said.