President Obama told congress that the United States should forgive $1 billion of Egypt’s debt to the U.S. and loan the troubled country still in political upheaval from protests and revolution billions more.
We do not want a democratic Egypt to be saddled by the debts of its past,” Obama said. “So we will relieve a democratic Egypt of up to $1 billion in debt, and work with our Egyptian partners to invest these resources to foster growth and entrepreneurship.”
The President stressed Egypt has to become a democratic nation in order for the plan to take effect.
The loans would be used to build up Egypt’s infrastructure and create jobs in the country, while at the same time many in the U.S. criticize the President for not doing enough to create jobs domestically.
Many politicians on both the left and right say it is premature to loan the country money even when it is not clear which political party would end up seizing power.
Egypt plans to have elections this coming September.
“I am deeply concerned that the president did not rule out providing aid to Egypt if the Muslim Brotherhood is part of the government,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I don’t know where this money is going to come from,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Two billion dollars, when everything is getting cut to the bone, is going to be difficult.”
Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) said the U.S. shouldn’t even be considering the proposal.
“Where are we going to get $1 billion?” he said. “If we give them $1 billion, we’re going to borrow $400 million from the Chinese.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) said he was a firm believer in providing foreign assistance to nations that “are going to commit themselves to anti-terror, pro- democracy, [and] territorial peace.”
“At this moment, I’m not at all assured that Egypt meets that standard,” he said.
Other countries don’t have plans to contribute to rebuilding Egypt like the U.S. aims to do.
Corey Boles, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES contributed to this article.