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POLITICS: PennAve

Pat Toomey: Egypt in 'low-grade civil war,' should lose US aid

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Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., signaled a switch in positions on Egypt on Tuesday, joining a growing chorus that have called for the U.S. to cut off aid to the troubled country.

Toomey, who earlier this year voted to table an amendment that would have stripped funding for foreign aid to Egypt, now believes the U.S. should take that step. Toomey called the escalating violence in the African nation a “low-grade civil war between the military and the Islamists.”

“The Egyptian military crossed the line last week,” the Pennsylvania Republican said. “We should stop giving foreign aid to Egypt and its military unless the country moves toward an inclusive democratic system. American taxpayers should not contribute to a military that slaughters civilians in the street.”

Unofficial counts have reported hundreds of deaths since the military moved to oust President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, though the Obama administration has been reticent to call the situation a coup. Such a distinction would require the U.S. top halt its funding to the country.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Tuesday that President Obama has halted military aid to the country.

On the Sunday talk shows, a number of Republican and Democratic lawmakers said cutting aid to Egypt would send a strong signal to the military to restore peace. Others, like Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., are against that move.

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