As Egyptian protests enter their third week largely unabated, debate in Washington has centered on whether to continue America’s policy of issuing $1.5 billion in annual aid to Cairo—much of it military assistance. Despite many initial threats to cut the massive sum after the breakout of demonstrations, several influential legislators, including John McCain, now say the aid should stay put, possibly due to the immense leverage it provides the U.S. in negotiating the conditions of President Mubarak’s transition out of office. McCain, backtracking from earlier statements, said Tuesday that it “is just not the right time to threaten” cutting the assistance. President Obama is due to submit his 2012 budget to Congress next week, and aid to Egypt is likely to be maintained; the nation is due to receive fighter jets, naval vessels, and defense missiles from the U.S. this year.
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