The way Rand Paul sees it, the 86 senators who opposed his amendment to freeze $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt voted “against the rule of law" on Wednesday. Paul's amendment to the transportation spending bill would have halted aid to the country until elections were held and redirected the money to domestic bridge repairs instead.
In Paul’s defense, a 2010 law requires halting U.S. aid to any country that undergoes a military coup.The problem, however, is that the U.S. has failed to make the determination that the military’s ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on July 3 was in fact a military coup.
Why? Because as Paul noted, “It’s not convenient now to obey the law that they passed.” Sen. Bob Corker made that pretty clear in earlier reports when he said, “Egypt is a very strategic country in the Middle East and what we need to be is an instrument of calmness…We need to deal with our laws in such a way that allow us to continue to be that instrument of stability in the region."
Senate Foreign Relations chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said the vote on aid was “far too important a decision to be an afterthought to an appropriations bill.”
“We need a more nuanced approach, one that speaks to both our values and our interests,” Menendez said, “and which provides the president with the flexibility needed to conduct delicate and discriminating policy in a challenging and chaotic environment.”
The top Republican on the committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), vowed to take up the legal issues of continued aid to Egypt when Congress returns in September.
Only 12 Republicans supported Paul’s amendment.