Politics

Citing Persecution of Christians, Gus Bilirakis Takes Aim at Aid to Egypt

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: December 14, 2011 3:55 AM
Gus Bilirakis

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis | Credit: aipc.us

From his perches on the House Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee and the International Religious Freedom Caucus, Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis urged Congress to set conditions on American taxpayer dollars being sent to Egypt.

"Americans should be alarmed, especially during dire fiscal times, that our taxpayer dollars are being used by the Egyptian military as a means to violate human rights," Bilirakis said in a statement on Tuesday.

Noting that Egypt received $1.3 billion in foreign aid, Bilirakis called for the House Appropriations Committee to put conditions on that money. Bilirakis insisted that some of those funds were being used to persecute religious minorities, including Coptic Christians.

Bilirakis was one of seven Republicans in Congress who sent a letter on the subject last week to U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs and ranking Democrat U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. Other congressmen who signed the letter were Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Michael Grimm of New York, Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, Phil Roe of Tennessee, and two representatives from New Jersey -- Albio Sires and Chris Smith.

“The United States gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid annually,” the congressmen wrote to Granger and Lowey. “At a time when the U.S. is struggling to balance our budget and get our nation on a path to fiscal sustainability, it is unacceptable to continue to provide unconditional military aid to a country that disregards the basic principles of human rights and religious freedom.”

In their letter to Granger and Lowey, the congressmen pointed to recent incidents in which the Egyptian military used excessive force against Coptic Christians in protests in Cairo back in October. They also cited incidents in November when the Egyptian military used tear gas against protesters. Noting that the U.S. Senate State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill set conditions on funding of Egypt, the congressmen urged the House subcommittee to do the same.

In a meeting of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which Smith serves as chairman, some of the congressmen who sent Granger and Lowey the letter -- including Bilirakis and Pitts -- engaged with critics of Egypt’s military and religious and human rights activists back in November.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


Comments (9)

Steve Y.
9:39AM FEB 20TH 2012
Palestinians opressing Israelis? Hahahaha, Israel, for the past 50 years has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians and Israel keeps on building settlments in the West Bank, which is outside of Israel's so called borders. Israel is engaging in imperalism and is demolishing the homes, schools, mosques and churches of the Palestinians. I am saying this as a Republican and we cannot sit on our rear ends as Israel bankrupts our economy and plots more massive landgrabs. Yes, I am a Republican who believe there should be a 2 state solution and Israel needs to stop it's imperalist warmongering attitude if they want to maintain it's ally status.
marsha weinschenker
8:29PM DEC 22ND 2011
Gus,
While our own country is in dire straits, I do not believe one cent of the budget should be spent anywhere but here.
I previously commented to you via facebook, but never received a response.
I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter.
Thank you so much for your time.
Marsha
Gary Newman
11:12PM DEC 19TH 2011
All it takes is a knowledgeable fact finding tour overseas and talk with the ordinary people to gain an understanding of how our money is truly spent. Do not do a high profile visit talking to the phonies in charge. It proves nothing. Persecution of Christians is the normal standard. Happy to see someone stand up and take some action. Keep our national treasure at home. Use it for the good of our own people
Kevan
2:55PM DEC 19TH 2011
Restrictions on aid should be laid out plainly to the Egyptians and the palestinians. The palestinians seem to be paying the terrorists with american dollars for atacking and killing jews and the Egyptian aid is provided even though they coninue to persecute the coptic christians. American aid is wrong in both cases and should not be allowed, or given with stiff strings attached. If not done, the american people would be unwillingly forced to support acts of hatred in the middle east.
herJohn LeBrun
1:32AM DEC 19TH 2011
Thanks Gus for standing up against this misuse of our$$$. Problem is if we leave a vacuum, it will be filled with the Bad Guys$$. What a quandry.When Rome conquered the then known world, there was peace for 400 years. The Pax Romana.
Do you think we can ever have that again? We must be strong, as there is always people that wish us gone.
Zach Booth
6:36PM DEC 18TH 2011
Way to go Gus. Please stop ALL the aid that goes to our enemies!!
Bob Ingraham
3:54PM DEC 18TH 2011
I applaud Rep. Gus Bilirakis and the other Congressmen for their actions regarding this Foreign Aid Issue. I agree with RJ Clemente's comment...There Should be NO American Taxpayer Monies sent to any Muslim or Communist or any Foreign Country.
RJ Clemente
2:55PM DEC 18TH 2011
This is a step in the right direction , but not one dime of American taxpayer money should be going to other countries. Especially not to muslim countries.
Robert Lloyd
10:49AM DEC 14TH 2011
Although I support the sentiments of Mr Bilirakis, the argument here should go further. Why are we sending money overseas at all? No one has the right to steal from the American worker and give his hard earned money to some other family or overseas.

This is corruption. Whatever happened to 'thou shalt not steal'.... Oh yeah, that doesn't apply to the rich and powerful within the government. They are exempt. Sorry. My mistake.

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