Paul: Invest in Detroit, not Cairo

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday offered a rousing defense of his legislation to cut aid to Egypt, arguing the money would be better spent on saving Detroit.

Paul's pending amendment to the transportation spending bill would shift the $1.5 billion in annual Egypt aid to bridge repairs across the United States. He said law clearly requires an end to aid after what he called this month's “coup” in Egypt.

“At some level I think the president does care about Detroit,” Paul said. “But today … I see the shiny new technology, America's best, going to arm people who are indifferent to us, and at worst hate us.”

Detroit filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history earlier this month after struggling for years to deal with a shrinking tax base and thinning population.

Paul pointed to Detroit as an example of how Washington prioritizes foreign spending over important projects at home.

“As Detroit decays, Chicago is a maelstrom of violence, and yet no one questions sending billions of your dollars to Egypt, to despots and dictators in foreign countries. Our nation's bridges are crumbling, and few politicians from either party will question billions of dollars being spent overseas.”

He went on to call the State Department's decision not to determine whether Egyptian President Morsi's ouster was a military coup — a label that would require an end to foreign aid — an example of “brazen and open flouting of the law” by the administration.

Paul's amendment is expected to fail. It is opposed by key Democrats and Republicans on both the Foreign Relations and Armed Services, who argue that abruptly cutting aid to Egypt would eliminate U.S. leverage.

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