Jul 9, 2013 6:06 AM by Lacey Steele
WASHINGTON (AP) - While the Obama administration throws its support behind Egypt's military, some members of Congress are looking at withholding some or all of America's annual $1.5 billion aid package if a civilian government isn't quickly restored.
Without the administration's support, that's a high hurdle.
But after watching the violence spiral in recent days in Cairo and elsewhere, more lawmakers are questioning whether the Egyptian military's ouster of Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood-led government last week must be defined as a "coup" and how the U.S. should leverage the only significant element of influence it has in Egypt.
The administration insisted Monday that it won't withhold funds from Egypt's army after its second takeover of a civilian government in the past 29 months.
Most of the money goes to the military under an arrangement U.S. leaders have honored since Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
Despite rocky relations since the ouster of longtime autocrat and longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, the U.S. has continued to financially support the institution it sees as Egypt's guarantor of stability.
Some in Congress say the latest military action should change the calculation because it unseated a democratically elected president.
"We need to suspend aid to the new government until it does in fact schedule elections and put in place a process that comes up with a new constitution," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Monday.
He said he'd support such a measure, but acknowledged it would be unlikely to gain majority support in Congress.