Earlier this year we bemoaned a rumor that President Obama was willing to change the way the U.S. aid package to Egypt by removing human rights funding as a spending necessity (which Egypt was happy to see go). We were relieved when the rumor proved false and our $150 million economic aid package to Egypt remained tied to civil society spending requirements. It's worth noting (and again bemoaning) that the $1.3 billion in military assistance we give to Egypt was not affected by any of this drama. Since Egypt has not agreed to invest U.S. aid into Egyptian NGOs and civic groups, the $150 million hasn't been released to Cairo. Congress recently came up with the controversial idea to reallocate most of this $150 million to other countries that they believe need it, specifically Tunisia. While we support U.S. aid investment in Tunisia, we are deeply concerned about abandoning our commitment to Egypt's besieged civil society under the al-Sisi regime. There's been a long and quiet effort to make U.S. aid to Egypt strictly a military-to-military affair. While our security assistance is desperately needed by Egypt, cutting off economic assistance arguably amounts to turning a blind eye to egregious human rights abuses. The Egyptian streets are already skeptical, often conspiratorial so, about the intents and actions of the U.S. government in their state. Abandoning the people whose work is focused on civil society in one of our key allied nations is a bad move for everyone.

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