The United States gives about $1.23 billion in military aid to Egypt yearly. Now some of that aid is temporarily being put on hold, leaving not only Egyptians on edge, but some American companies, who want that money to keep flowing because they are the ones benefiting.
“The U.S. doesn't cut a check to Egypt. It deposits the aid in an account at the Federal Reserve Bank,” reports CNN’s Chris Lawrence.
“That money pays American defense contractors to build the weapons and parts for Egypt,” including “$400 million to General Dynamics for tank kits, and $2.5 billion to Lockheed for F-16s.”
Lobbyists for the companies are partially to credit for helping them earn these contracts.
“They reminded lawmakers that if the Boeings and Lockheeds can't build weapons for Egypt, all those small town suppliers—from Lima, Ohio to Oxford Michigan—will get buried.”
Former Congressman Jim Kolbe is familiar with that pitch.
"The contractors have a vested interest in keeping the process going forward,” Kolbe says, so freezing aid would hurt the U.S.
“Cutting the aid won't get the government out of paying off the defense contracts it signed,” Lawrence reports.
Kolbe says, "It's going to end up costing the taxpayers a lot of money and getting nothing in return.
“The bottom line,” Lawrence says, “even though the U.S. has only transferred about half of this year’s $1.2 billion into the Egypt fund, withholding the other 600 million doesn't really save any money and may end up costing jobs.”
The United States is officially one week into the forced spending cuts today. These cuts are a result of the budget battle-ax that many predicted would lead to radical change, eventually. John Berman weighs what happened, and what didn't.
Seven days into the sequester, we have seen "no massive government budget implosion," Berman says. Although the apocalyptic message leaders seemed to send hasn't yet come to pass, changes could become apparent as soon as April. "With no congressional White House cooperation, cuts are coming. Big ones. And soon," Berman says.
CNN's Chris Lawrence on possible grilling of fmr. Sen. Chuck Hagel in a confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary.