Rubio Proposes New Conditions for Egypt Aid

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) submitted an amendment to H.R. 933 placing conditions on two forms of U.S. assistance to Egypt unless the country adopts economic reforms and human rights safeguards. The amendment will also begin a comprehensive, long-term reevaluation of U.S. military aid to Egypt. Speaking before the Senate, Rubio said, “The U.S.-Egypt relationship has been a critical one for decades, but it must be adapted to reflect the new political reality the Arab Spring has created. That adaptation process must begin with how our money is being spent and conditioning our assistance on Egypt’s adoption of economic reforms and a serious effort to protect the rights of religious minorities, women, a free press and the ability of Egyptian and foreign NGOs to promote civil society, governance and democracy.”

S.AMDT. 27 will block all new economic support and foreign military financing (FMF) until Egypt begins to enact economic, political, and social reforms. The administration must be able to certify that Egypt is ending all restrictions on the political, economic, and religious rights of Egyptian citizens, demonstrating a commitment to free and fair elections, lifting restrictions “in law and practice” on the operations of NGOs in the country, abiding by the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, and taking steps to combat security threats like terrorism and smuggling. The amendment will also require a recalibration of the U.S.-Egypt security relationship to more directly address Egypt’s actual security needs. The legislation will also initiate a shift from focus on military aid to an increased emphasis on democracy, governance, and civil society assistance. This provision will require a dialogue between the U.S. government, the Egyptian government, and Egyptian civil society and will stipulate that the interest earned on Egypt’s FMF account can be transferred and allocated to democracy and governance issues.

The amendment also proposes a national security waiver, a step which allows the Secretary of State to waive these conditions for FMF funding if it is in the U.S.’s national security interests to do so. Rubio stated that the waiver must be certified every 180 days, citing the need to stay on top of a rapidly changing situation.

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