Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) is lending his support to an effort that would restore the tuition assistance program for members of the military by cutting foreign aid to Egypt.
The tuition assistance program aids active-duty members, reservists and National Guard members attending high school completion courses, vocational education, or classes toward a college degree after hours.
"This is a simple matter of evaluating spending priorities," said Kingston. "Fulfilling our commitment to those who serve our country is a more worthy cause than providing assistance to countries like Egypt. Last year, the Army's tuition assistance program alone allowed 201,000 soldiers to pursue their educational goals. This not only enhances their performance within the military but prepares them for a life in the civilian job market."
Earlier this month, the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard announced they were ceasing new tuition assistance agreements due to spending cuts resulting from sequestration. While those currently enrolled in classes will be unaffected the cuts would impact those seeking to enroll in future terms.
The legislation Kingston is backing, HR 1039, would reduce foreign aid to Egypt by $500 million in order to restore the program for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Kingston, a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Committee which allocates the federal national security budget, intends to work with Pentagon officials to better prioritize spending reductions.
"While recent spending cuts have been overly-focused on national security priorities, the federal government must learn to live within its means," Kingston said. "President Obama should work with Congress to eliminate wasteful Washington spending rather than cutting high-profile and worthy programs."
One example of wasteful spending identified by Kingston is the Pentagon's insistence on sponsoring professional sports teams. Last year, Kingston worked with Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum to end the practice which cost taxpayers an estimated $80.3 million in the most recent fiscal year.