The issue of aid to Egypt resurfaced one week later. On Sept. 28, while the House was in a pro forma session, the administration sent a letter to Congress indicating its intention to transfer $450 million in cash assistance to the government of Egypt pending a 15-day notice-and-wait period required by statute. The letter was referred to the Appropriations committees.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, promptly issued a statement saying that, with the U.S.-Egypt relationship under such intense scrutiny, she was not convinced of the urgent need for the aid. Consequently, she said, she was placing a “hold” on the funds.
A House subcommittee chairman’s hold has no legal standing in House rules or law. However, Granger’s gauntlet was an effective ploy: it got the administration’s attention and a promise of further “conversations.” Although the earlier branch on the tracks did not derail the CR, the first branch’s watchful eye on the purse strings does make a difference.
Don Wolfensberger is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a resident scholar with the Bipartisan Policy Center, and former staff director of the House Rules Committee.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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