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Obama Skirts the Law Again, Won’t Say Egypt had a Coup

The Obama administration has chosen yet again to flout a law it finds inconvenient, deciding not to make a determination about whether Egypt’s military came to power through a coup, a designation that would force the United States to cut off $1.5 billion in annual aid.

Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked today for an update on whether the White House has decided that a coup is a coup:

There are certain legal obligations that go with the designation of a coup.  And it has been determined by senior foreign policy officials in this administration to not make a determination, but rather to engage in a dialogue with the interim government of Egypt and encourage them to follow through on their promises to promptly transition to a democratically elected, civilian government . . .

We have determined that it is not in the best interest of the United States to make that determination.  But as we’ve also said throughout that process, we are on a regular basis reviewing the aid that is provided by the United States to Egypt, and we’ll continue to do that.

I get that it’s inconvenient and possibly bad policy, but so are lots of laws. Some women, for example, may want to strap an underwear bomb onto their ex-husbands – or even, perhaps, their current husbands – and set it off from a distance, and this may in some cases be a good idea. But it’s also against the law.

And according to the nonpartisan Middle East Institute, the law on coups is unambiguous:

Section 508 of the (Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) prohibits appropriated funds from being “obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance” to a state where a head of government has been removed by military coup or decree.[7] In contrast to other restrictions contained in the FAA,[8] provisions governing the United States’ response to a military coup do not allow for a presidential waiver that would permit the administration to sidestep, without Congressional authorization, the prohibition on continuing assistance.[9] That said, termination of assistance is not final under Section 508. The law provides that financial assistance may resume or continue if the president reports to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations that a democratically elected government has assumed office.[10] Thus, either the country returns to democratic rule or remains ineligible for U.S. assistance.[11]

In fact, the intent of Congress more recently has been to strengthen, not weaken this provision:

Recently, Congress strengthened Section 508 with a reinforcement clause that imposes an additional factor for Congress to consider in determining whether to withhold aid. Specifically, the United States may not disburse any assistance to the government of any country whose elected leader is removed by a “military coup d’etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.”[12]

Congress appropriates the $1.5 billion, not Obama. Obama should at least obtain some kind of permission from lawmakers to supersede this law.

And my understanding is that those who think the Egyptian military did not stage a coup also happen to be convinced that the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot are honeymooning in the Oregon woods.

Like many leftists before him, Obama is discovering that governing in a democracy is highly inconvenient. How far he will take his imperious unilateralism remains to be seen.

He might be able to take it quite far. After all, while the executive branch, the like legislature and Congress,  is supposedly constrained by the law, unlike the other two branches, it also is the one that enforces the law.

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27 Responses to Obama Skirts the Law Again, Won’t Say Egypt had a Coup

  1. Ask the parents of the 10 year old girl that was executed in Egypt yesterday because she attended a Christian school. It is a coup. STOP the funding. Grow a back bone.

      • I would think the Muslim Brotherhood murdered the little girl. Thats why they had to get rid of Morsy, another bunch of religious fanatics, the Muslim Brotherhood. I just don’t know how he got elected in the first place?

      • “She likely was murdered by someone friendly with the Muslim Brotherhood. Do you want to see them returned to power?” – Mandy Manners

        Obama would. Therein lies the rub…

  2. Obama delights in making his bold moves while the congress is out of session.
    I am sick of him poking his finger in the eye of this Country, usurping the laws that he is constitutionally mandated to adhere to.
    The Constitution is nothing more than a bump in the road to him.
    The congressmen and women that allow this to continue will become bumps in the road to US and we need to advise them of that.

  3. On the plus side, not declaring it a coup allows us to continue aid to the people killing the Muslim Brogherhood Islamofacists. Win-win.

      • US Defense companies make millions of $$$ from the “$1.5 Billion of aid” the US gives to Egypt (re: ‘here is $1.5 Billion Egypt, now you have to buy US made F-16s and M-1 tanks and all the contractor support’)

    • Pretty sure Obama’s working behind the scenes to return his Sunni brothers to power, and it’s probably with an eye to THAT happening that he wants to continue aid that he KNOWS they will eventually be the beneficiaries of. After all, the Ummah do stick together…

  4. Well Keith, I have it on good advisement that Yetis are piloting flying saucers too.
    However, there is not enough information to confirm that.

  5. If it’s not a coup, then the WhiteHouse must consider Morsi to still be the President (or whatever he was) of Egypt.
    Where do we send the funds, or do we just fly in billions of dollars ensconced in shrink-wrap and drop it from the sky?

    If the US Marines march into the WhiteHouse, arrest MrObama and put him under house arrest, then install someone else to run the country, that’s a coup.
    We shouldn’t be sending these oil-rich, American-hating, anti-Christian/Jewish people anything but grief. If they want to spend the next ten years killing each other, then better them than us.

    • Boy, would I love to see that, them marching in to arrest Obama! I am having a fantasy now about it. Isn’t that awful, I can’t help it.

  6. As this imperial Obama reich must never had a a history class they would know this part of the world have been fighting for centuries. Also
    it was a coup cut the money off it won’t make a difference because they
    will get some money and weapons from any number of terrorist and
    sympathizers. The fact that Obama finds our laws nothing more than a
    nuisance should worry even his ardent followers he could and would turn
    on them in a heartbeat. But all this is lost because putz a lot is on his
    vacation with family and dog. Can’t ruin his rest and relaxation.
    Wonder how much rest the Coptic Christians are getting tonight?

  7. I DARE someone in the “WH press corps” to ask:
    “who is the leader of Egypt…? The military? or Morsi? or the Muslim Brotherhood?”

    HA!, You will NEVER get a straight answer from the Obama regime.

  8. Nessie and Squatch are actually huddled up in Martha’s Vineyard and will be sharing a room on taxpayers expense of course.

  9. I’m not sure what is real and what is not in Egypt. I just know that Senators McCain and Grahamnesty met with their Muslim Brotherhood friends over there and they called it a coup. In my opinion, those two quislings have about as much credibility as Preezy Revenge. I don’t think we should be giving money to any country that hates us, but don’t think it has anything to do with the terminology of the word “coup”.

  10. The words of this law are clear enough to anyone of average intelligence and reasonable intellectual honesty. Those in the administration are not stupid. They are, however, completely dishonest. Our system of government cannot survive being run by liars and criminals. Good thing Harry Reid is on the job, completely preventing the possibility of removing this disgrace from office.

  11. Obama’s foreign policy team and advisors are hacks and ideologues and anyone knowledgeable at State is most not likely part of the team.

    He operates outside the law because he can. Not sure how far this can go without something irrevocably damaging happens.