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Congress allows Obama to reopen military aid to Egypt

The spending bill released the evening of Dec. 9 allows the State Department to waive human rights requirements and free up $1.3 billion worth of military aid.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry (L) greets chairwoman Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) (R) before testifying at the House Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 12, 2014.

The long-term spending bill that Congress is expected to adopt this week would allow the State Department to resume military aid to Egypt despite ongoing concerns with the country's human rights record.

The bill specifies a number of requirements before the $1.3 billion in annual military assistance can resume but allows Secretary of State John Kerry to bypass them for "national security" reasons. The decision to reinstate that waiver authority, which was absent from the previous spending bill, marks a victory for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his regional allies and a blow to human rights advocates.

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