U.S. takes steps to halt economic aid to Egypt -- while leaving military aid intact

The State Department has put a hold on financing for economic programs that directly involve the Egyptian government, administration officials said, out of a concern that the military-led government might have violated Congressional rules prohibiting aid to countries where there has been a coup…

Military aid to Egypt dwarfs civilian aid: of the $1.55 billion in total assistance the White House has requested for 2014, $1.3 billion is military and $250 million is economic. The civilian aid goes to such things as training programs and projects run by the United States Agency for International Development.

“We have stopped spending money in areas that would be prevented if it were determined to be a coup,” said an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “We’ll put a pause on those programs, because we don’t want to flout the law.”

Among the programs affected, the official said, would be training programs in the United States for Egyptian government workers, teachers or hospital administrators. Depending on how events in Egypt unfold, and on how lawmakers react when they return from August recess, the economic aid could resume later, the official said.