DENVER – U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) blasted the Obama administration on Wednesday for suspending tuition assistance benefits for Army and Marine Corps servicemen, and called on the White House to restore funding to the program by paring back U.S. assistance to Egypt.
“We are not under any obligation to continue to provide [Egypt] with over a billion and a half dollars in aid every year. Re-prioritizing this funding to our soldiers and Marines is the right thing to do,” said Coffman.
Coffman has proposed trimming $500 million from unspent foreign aid to Egypt, and reprogramming the funding to the military tuition assistance program.
U.S. taxpayers have provided Egypt with more than $60 billion in military and economic assistance since 1979, and Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Obama administration would provide another $250 million during a visit to Egypt earlier this month.
Critics have questioned the wisdom of continuing to provide billions in U.S. assistance to the country given the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power after longtime Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak was forced from power two years ago.
According to one recent public opinion survey, 58 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. should cut off foreign aid to Arab countries in the Middle East.
Coffman also took aim at the White House for what he characterized as its failure to exercise discretion or common sense in carrying out modest reductions in government spending that were approved by Congress.
“Whether it’s suspending tours at the White House to punish school children, compromising public safety by mass releases of illegal aliens with criminal records, or with this most recent ploy to go out of their way to hurt our service members, this Administration has shown no boundaries in what they will do to win their public relations battle regarding sequestration,” said Coffman.
“This administration not only specifically stated that they do not want any additional authority from Congress to better prioritize these cuts in order to protect important programs, they failed to utilize the latitude they have to prioritize,” he added.
According to a press release from Coffman’s office, the lawmaker utilized tuition assistance programs early in his military career.