The congressional politics of U.S. aid to Egypt

Feb. 3, 2012, 9 a.m.

In a paper published by the University of Salford, Manchester, Lars Berger argues that shows that contributions from defense interests have a large influence on the willingness of Congressmen to defeat attempts to reduce military aid to Egypt during the Mubarak era.

In February 2011, the dramatic ouster of Hosni Mubarak threw into the spotlight the U.S. policy of granting generous and unconditional aid to the Egyptian regime at a time when the strategic rationale for such aid had become less obvious and calls for inserting human rights considerations into foreign aid allocations more prominent. Focusing on an unprecedented set of roll call votes taken in the U.S. House of Representatives during the years 2004 to 2007, this paper offers the first quantitative assessment of the determinants of Congressional support for U.S. economic and military aid for Egypt. It challenges conventional wisdom on the limited role of campaign contributions in Congressional decision-making by highlighting the central role of defense lobby contributions in maintaining the Congressional coalition that shielded Egypt’s pre-revolutionary regime from increased U.S. pressure in the years leading up to its eventual demise.

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