A Republican senator threatens a filibuster to suspend aid to Egypt and other countries where Americans have been attacked.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (not to be confused with Mitt Romney’s running mate Ron Paul), wrote fellow senators on Tuesday that they should consider “cutting all foreign aid to any country that fails to secure our embassies,” Atlanta’s WSB radio reported.
He has threatened a filibuster, which could throw a monkey-wrench into President Barack Obama’s election campaign, buoyed by media spins against Romney’s statements on the Palestinian Authority and Americans dependent on federal aid.
Worldwide attacks on American embassies, coupled with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s headlining the Iranian nuclear threat into an election issue, are catapulting foreign policy into the campaign just when economic data are giving Obama a boost at the polls.
The White House has denied a report in the Washington Post that the administration is considering holding off on giving further aid to Egypt until after the elections in the face of Congressional dissent, after Republicans in the House of Representatives last week failed week to win support to hold up a funding bill that includes $130 million per month for aid to Egypt.
“We’re continuing to work with (Congress) on ways to support a stable, democratic transition in Egypt that is important for defeating extremism of the very kind that we just recently saw,“ White House spokesman Jay Carney said, in an effort to play down the opposition.
Congress returns to Washington Wednesday for a three-day session before going on a vacation for the November election campaigns, and the timing could be a key advantage for Sen. Paul’s threatened filibuster.
“As this is expected to be the final week of legislative session for both the House and Senate before an extended recess, I urge you to take immediate action to pass a much-needed bill demanding cooperation and accountability from the countries involved in the recent violence directed at our embassies and consulates,” he wrote to senators.
“The bill should send a strong clear message to these entities: You do not get foreign aid unless you are an unwavering ally of the United States.
“This week is likely our last chance to address the ongoing violence, to promote security at our diplomatic facilities, and to take appropriate steps to ensure cooperation from the governments of Pakistan, Egypt and Libya….
“We must take steps to cut foreign aid to Egypt and Libya, or any other country which fails to secure our embassies, and we must make it clear that, unless there is full cooperation in bringing these attackers to justice, no foreign aid will be provided in the future….
“If these countries cannot secure American lives and property, our increased cost of doing so must come out of the money set aside for aid….
“I have insisted on floor consideration and votes on these issues in the Senate, and will be engaged in a filibuster of the Continuing Resolution and any recess for adjournment until the Senate allows action on these vital matters."
Even if the Senate votes Wednesday to cut off debate on the motion to proceed to a temporary budget bill, Senate rules allow a senator to delay on a debate for the bill itself by 30 hours, WSB explained.
With Congressmembers anxious to conclude the session Friday and fly home for their campaigns, they may give up trying to fight Paul’s bid.