WASHINGTON — The White House will hold a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss cutting some of America’s $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed that a National Security Council principles meeting will take place Tuesday. Cabinet members such as Secretary of State John Kerry will participate.
Up to now, the administration has insisted that it has taken no final decision on halting aid to Egypt since the military’s July overthrow of Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government and an intensifying crackdown on Islamist opponents.
Both officials said Egypt aid would be the focus of the meeting. One official said a decision was likely on cutting some elements of U.S. economic and military support.
Earlier, the White House rejected a claim by a Senate aide said the United States had cut military aid to Egypt.
David Carle, an aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said his Senate Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee has been informed the “transfer of military aid was stopped.”
“This is current practice, not necessarily official policy, and there is no indication of how long it will last,” Carle said.
Obama administration officials said they were reviewing U.S. aid to Egypt in light of the military’s July 3 overthrow of the democratically elected president and the violent confrontations between security forces and demonstrators that have left almost 1,000 people dead in the last week. But it says no final decisions have been made, despite State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s revelation Monday that Washington still hasn’t delivered some $585 million — almost half the annual military aid package — for fiscal year 2013.
“There has been no decision to halt or to suspend assistance to Egypt,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday.
Another U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said American companies are still being paid for Egypt aid programs and “nothing has stopped.”
The administration also plans to spend all of the remaining military assistance money before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, said the official.