Several Republican House lawmakers said that aid to Libya and Egypt should be stripped from a six-month federal funding bill set for a vote on Thursday.
The lawmakers expressed outrage on Wednesday at the Obama administration’s response to the attacks on the U.S. embassies in those countries, which killed four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, The Hill reports.
They suggested that the inclusion of foreign aid could influence their votes.
“It makes it easier to vote ‘no’ ” on the spending bill, freshman Louisiana Rep. Jeff Landry said at a news conference with conservative House Republicans at the Capitol.
The House on Thursday plans to vote on a continuing resolution that would extend federal funding through March. The move would prevent a government shutdown before the election or during a lame-duck session of Congress this fall.
While conservatives pushed to avoid a shutdown fight, they have also raised alarms about the inclusion of additional welfare funding in the bill, The Hill reports.
“It would show a tremendous amount of leadership from this administration, in light of the recent developments, if the president were to come back and demand that the amount of money that is in the [continuing resolution] for Libya and Egypt be stripped,” Landry told The Hill. “That would be tremendous leadership.”
Lawmakers said they would bring up the issue at a meeting of the conservative Republican Study Committee on Wednesday, but they acknowledged it would be difficult to remove the foreign aid so close to the vote on the bill.
The stopgap spending bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support, including from Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
But House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said that defunding Libya and Egypt in the continuing resolution (CR) would not be possible, according to The Hill.
“The CR is closed for changes," he said Wednesday.
The chairman said the Foreign Affairs Committee should take up the matter, and he suggested that moving on aid now would be "premature."
The conservative lawmakers strongly backed Mitt Romney’s criticism of President Obama, repeating the GOP presidential nominee’s charge that the U.S. embassy in Egypt initially apologized for an amateur anti-Islam film produced by a California developer that sparked the protests at the American compound.
“It was just one idiot in the United States, and our president continually apologizes for those things,” freshman Idaho Rep. Raúl Labrador told The Hill. “It has been his policy from the beginning to go around the world apologizing for America.
“And it’s about time that somebody stood up, and I’m glad that Romney stood up and said that it was wrong for the embassy to send out a statement apologizing for the thing, instead of condemning what the terrorists did at both embassies.”
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