Cross-posted from watchdog.org
SANTA FE — With violence in Egypt raging, New Mexico’s sole Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives is calling on the United States to cut off military aid to the Egyptian government.
The state’s two Democrats in the House are taking a more wait-and-see approach.
“The military coup in Egypt has ousted a duly-elected government, and it is unacceptable to continue using U.S. taxpayer money to support Egypt’s deplorable actions,” Rep. Steve Pearce said in an email to New Mexico Watchdog.
“I encourage the (Obama) Administration to continue its thorough review of all assistance to Egypt while the President engages in intense diplomacy with Egyptian military leaders, who must end the violence and bloodshed and put Egypt back on a path to democracy,” Grisham said in an email.
Luján spokeswoman Angela Martinez emailed that “Congressman Lujan is monitoring the situation, and would hope that as steps are considered, the safety of the Egyptian people as well as the security and stability of the region are at the center of any decisions.”
New Mexico Watchdog also contacted the two Democrats in the state’s U.S. Senate delegation.
“Egypt is in a very volatile situation and I’m deeply concerned about the increasing violence every day,” Sen. Martin Heinrich said in a statement. ”I agree with President Obama’s decision to cancel our upcoming joint exercise with the Egyptian military and I believe we must assess further steps that we may take, including a suspension of military aid, until violence subsides and democracy is restored.”
Sen. Tom Udall didn’t respond by Monday afternoon. If we receive a statement later, we’ll post it. Update: Udall spokeswoman Jennifer Talhelm e-mailed: “Sen. Udall is extremely concerned by the situation in Egypt, which has gone from bad to worse and is negatively impacting not just the internal security of the country, but also the security of the region and our ally Israel. He believes normal cooperative relations with the Egyptian government cannot continue when people are being killed in the streets and the rule of law is uncertain at best. Sen. Udall thinks the administration should strongly consider suspending military aid until a democratic transition is underway.”
Almost 900 people died in violence across Egypt in the last four days, and on Monday 25 policemen were reported killed by suspected Islamists near the border with Israel. On Sunday, 37 Islamist prisoners were killed.
The U.S. is scheduled to supply Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid next year and $585 million more this year. Last week, Obama announced he was suspending joint military operations between U.S. and Egyptian troops but the administration has not reduced the military package.
“The law is very clear when a coup d’état takes place, foreign aid must stop, regardless of the circumstances,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said last Thursday. “Mr. President, stop skirting the issue, follow the law, and cancel all foreign aid to Egypt.”
Paul has led the charge for cutting off military funding to Egypt, and in recent days a number of Senate Democrats have joined him, including Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., who wants the money to be suspended until elections are scheduled.