JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Rep. Todd Akin said Thursday that the U.S. should suspend aid to Egypt because of the attack on the U.S. embassy and the repeated burning of American flags by Egyptians.
Akin said in a written statement that the timing of the violent mob attack Sept. 11 on the U.S. embassy in Cairo suggests it was planned and not spontaneous.
“I am calling for the immediate suspension of foreign aid to Egypt. Any ally is expected to protect a nation’s embassies, and in this they have failed,” Akin said.
The release of hundreds of millions of dollars of previously approved economic aid for Egypt already has been delayed following the turmoil surrounding the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last year. But President Barack Obama’s administration has been in talks with Egypt to release the aid.
A six-month funding bill that passed the House last week and is pending in the Senate would allow for almost $130 million a month in military and economic aid to Egypt, because it lets foreign aid flow at the same rate as the current funding. Akin was one of just nine House members who did not vote on that bill Sept. 13, because he was in Missouri campaigning for the U.S. Senate.
Akin spokesman Ryan Hite said Thursday that the Republican congressman’s call for a suspension of foreign aid to Egypt is a decision that can be made immediately by Obama, regardless of the status of the six-month funding bill.
Aid to Egypt is contingent on whether Obama’s administration certifies that it has met conditions demanded by Congress, including taking steps toward democracy. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also has authority to waive congressional conditions placed on aid if it would be in the national security interest of the U.S. She issued such a waiver in March.
Akin said the recent anti-American protests that have occurred in Egypt—and elsewhere—should have repercussions. He called the burning of the U.S. flag “a fundamental insult.”
“We are not going to pay Egypt to burn our flag,” Akin said. “Until the Egyptian government takes corrective action to restore its relationship with the United States, we believe that our foreign aid to Egypt should be immediately suspended.”
Akin, a six-term congressman from suburban St. Louis, is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in the November elections. McCaskill’s campaign had no immediate comment about her position on foreign aid to Egypt.