Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after cosponsoring H.R. 1039, a bill to rescind foreign assistance to Egypt, and to appropriate funds for the Department of Defense (DoD) tuition assistance program:
"I continue to hear from concerned members of our Armed Forces about the negative effects the sequester is having on our military programs, including the tuition assistance program. That is why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1039, which would eliminate $500 million worth of foreign funding for the Egyptian government in order to fund the tuition assistance program. We should prioritize U.S. taxpayer dollars for our servicemembers over assistance to Egypt's radical government."
In addition to supporting H.R. 1039, Griffin voted for a bill (H.R. 933) that includes full-year appropriations for DoD, military construction, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This legislation, which passed the House on March 6, will allow the military and VA to move forward with critical national security and veterans programs. This sensible appropriations bill holds down spending, in line with the sequester, and includes smart reforms, including prioritization of funding for our Armed Forces and veterans. It also provides reprogramming authority for DoD to handle the effects of the sequester. H.R. 933 now awaits further action in the Senate.
Earlier this month, Griffin introduced a House resolution (H.Res. 87) calling for the Obama Administration to stop sending F-16s to Egypt. The deal to provide 20 F-16s to the Egyptian government originated in 2009, when Hosni Mubarak was still president and the proposal was presented to Congress through the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMFP). In 2010, the U.S. government awarded a $213 million contract to Lockheed Martin for the production of 20 new F-16 aircraft for Egypt. Since then, Egypt has undergone a significant political shift, and the radical Muslim Brotherhood is now considered the most powerful political player in Egypt. Its former leader, Mohamed Morsi, now serves as Egypt's president.
Although four F-16s have already been delivered to Egypt, Griffin has been pushing the White House to stop the transfer of additional aircraft and other military assistance until Egypt's government demonstrates its alliance with the U.S. and respect for Israel and her people.
Last month, Griffin raised this issue in a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.