Rep. Gohmert: Offset Disaster Relief By Defunding Muslim Brotherhood
Appearing this morning on Fox News, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested that Congress offset disaster relief by cutting off funding to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt:
GOHMERT: I think that the Democrats are so desperate for a game changer that they would be willing to shut things down, let the military not be paid, let those in emergency situations not get help, just so they can shut things down. We saw it in the spring, in the summer, they are anxious for a shutdown. They think they politically win a shutdown. And what most of us that I know in the House were saying, "Look, let's keep our promise." We promised at least $100 billion in the first year, we didn't even get anywhere near to that. So let's start cutting like we promised. And I think S&Ps will be satisfied, I think that it gets us on the right track. But the Senate, not to be able to cut $1.6 billion. Excuse me? Just defund the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for a while and we'll be there. It's just ridiculous.
It's not entirely clear what funding Gohmert is talking about rescinding. The U.S. government does give the Egyptian government billions in aid, mainly in the form of military aid, but it's not likely that any of the aid goes to the Muslim Brotherhood or affiliate organizations. According to the Congressional Research Service, more than 83 percent of U.S. aid in FY2010 went to the Egyptian military. Since 1979, Egypt has been the second largest recipient of foreign aid, after Israel. But the aid is given on the condition that Egypt maintains its peace treaty with Israel and, in general, secure and maintain vital U.S. interests in the region.
But Gohmert's idea is not as strange as it seems. The Republican-led House has introduced several bills this year aimed at defunding various organizations seen as too independent of right-wing Republican orthodoxy. Both the Organization of American States and the United Nations have been targeted for defunding.
Gohmert is also lying about his opposition to a government shutdown. Last November, he told ThinkProgress that "government is going to have to shut down until you runaway-spending people get it under control. And if you can't get it under control, then we just stop government until you realize, you know, yes we can."