By POMED –
The United States Senate Appropriations Committee released its draft of the Fiscal Year 2017 State and Foreign Operations bill. The bill proposes $1.3 billion in military aid for the Egypt, (the same level Egypt has received annually for approximately the past 30 years) while the bill suggests Egypt’s economic aid be reduced by half from last year’s level, down to $75 million.
The draft legislation also includes a new “cooperation determination” clause, which would allow for the reprogramming of economic support funds if the State Department finds that Egypt is “prohibiting” or “interfering with” the “conduct or operations of programs supported by such funds.” The clause is likely related to the backlog of approximately $900 million in the United States’ economic support funds to Egypt.
The draft legislation also seeks to condition 15 percent of U.S. military aid to Egypt based on human rights and democracy provisions. The State Department would be required to certify that Egypt is meeting the conditions, which include steps to advance democracy and human rights; protect religious minorities and the rights of women; implement reforms that protect freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly; release political prisoners and provide detainees with the process of law; hold Egyptian security forces accountable; investigate extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances; and provide regular access for United States officials to monitor the use of the funds. This approach closely resembles the language related to Egypt’s military assistance in current law.
The draft legislation, if passed by the Senate, would then need to be reconciled with the House of Representatives’ version of the bill in order to become law.