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Lawmakers Urge Libya, Egypt Aid be Stripped Following Attacks

Conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill are urging that aid to Libya and Egypt be stripped from a six-month federal funding bill.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 9/13/2012, 9:54 AM

White House staff are pictured after they lowered the U.S. flag to half staff on the roof of the Whi
White House staff are pictured after they lowered the U.S. flag to half staff on the roof of the Whi
Reuters

Several conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill are urging that aid to Libya and Egypt be stripped from a six-month federal funding bill set for a vote on Thursday.

The lawmakers expressed outrage on Wednesday at the Obama administration’s response to the deadly attacks on the U.S. embassies, which resulted in the death of four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, and have suggested that the inclusion of foreign aid could influence their votes, The Hill reported.

“It makes it easier to vote ‘no’ ” on the spending bill, freshman Louisiana Rep. Jeff Landry said at a news conference with conservative House Republicans.

The House plans to vote on a continuing resolution Thursday that would extend federal funding through March. The move would prevent a government shutdown before the election or during a lame-duck session of Congress this fall.

While conservatives pushed to avoid a shutdown fight, they have also raised alarms about the inclusion of additional welfare funding in the bill, according to The Hill.

“It would show a tremendous amount of leadership from this administration, in light of the recent developments, if the president were to come back and demand that the amount of money that is in the [continuing resolution] for Libya and Egypt be stripped,” Landry told The Hill. “That would be tremendous leadership.”

Lawmakers said they would propose the issue at a meeting of the conservative Republican Study Committee on Wednesday, but acknowledged it would be difficult to remove the foreign aid at a date so close to the vote on the bill.

The bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support, including from Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

However, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said that removing the countries from the continuing resolution (CR) would not be possible.

“The CR is closed for changes," he said Wednesday.

The lawmakers also strongly backed Mitt Romney’s criticism of President Obama, repeating the GOP presidential nominee’s charge that the U.S. embassy in Egypt initially apologized for an amateur anti-Islam that allegedly sparked the violent protests.

“It was just one idiot in the United States, and our president continually apologizes for those things,” freshman Idaho Rep. Raúl Labrador told The Hill. “It has been his policy from the beginning to go around the world apologizing for America.

“And it’s about time that somebody stood up, and I’m glad that Romney stood up and said that it was wrong for the embassy to send out a statement apologizing for the thing, instead of condemning what the terrorists did at both embassies.”