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Why Senate Democrats are urging Biden to withhold part of Egypt's military aid

The letter led by Sen. Chris Murphy called for the Biden administration to withhold $320 million from Egypt's annual military assistance package.
A picture taken during a guided tour organized by Egypt's State Information Service on Feb. 11, 2020.

WASHINGTON — A group of US senators is urging the Biden administration to withhold a fraction of Egypt’s annual military assistance over human rights concerns

“Egypt’s human rights record has continued to deteriorate, despite the Egyptian government’s claims to the contrary,” read a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent Friday led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and 10 other liberal senators, among them Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

At roughly $1.3 billion, Egypt is the second-largest recipient of US foreign military financing after Israel. For fiscal year 2022, Congress has conditioned $320 million of that assistance on the North African country meeting certain human rights benchmarks. 

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