Fight looms in U.S. Congress over aid to Egypt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Democratic lawmaker vowed to slash some of the $1.7 billion in aid to Egypt approved by a House panel on Friday as part of a foreign aid bill as Congress voiced growing irritation over Cairo's democratic setbacks.
The $20.7 billion foreign aid bill approved by a House of Representative Appropriations subcommittee contained the full amount the Bush administration sought for Egypt.
But subcommittee acted a day after the United States condemned Egypt for keeping opposition leader Ayman Nour in prison and accused the government of using harsh tactics against people demonstrating on his behalf.
Since 1979, the United States has pumped more than $60 billion of aid into Egypt, but many Republicans and Democrats are growing impatient with Cairo over the slow pace of democratic reform.
Earlier in the week, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch urged lawmakers to maintain Egypt's aid, calling Cairo a "formidable partner" in fighting terrorism. More...