Fifty-one percent of Americans support cutting off the $1.3 billion in annual aid the United States gives the Egyptian military, according to a new Pew survey. That support cuts across party lines, with 56 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of Democrats, and 53 percent of independents in favor of ending the aid. And on the whole, Americans aren’t too happy with how President Obama is handling the ongoing crisis, with 50 percent saying he hasn’t been tough enough. The survey was taken from Aug. 15-18, just after more than 600 people were killed on Aug. 14.
But the biggest takeaway: Many Americans aren’t really paying close attention to the escalating crisis that has already seen more than a thousand deaths.
According to Pew, just 22 percent of Americans say they are following the news out of Egypt “very closely,” down from the 39 percent who followed Egypt “very closely” in February 2011 when then-President Hosni Mubarak was pushed out of power. Now, nearly half of Americans aren’t following the news closely, while an additional 29 percent of Americans say they are not following Egypt closely at all.
But in some ways, that number could be much worse. The Jeff Bezos purchase of The Washington Post may have dominated D.C. news coverage for a few days this month, but only 6 percent of Americans said they followed that news “very closely,” and 16 percent “fairly closely.” Fifty-six percent of Americans say they didn’t follow the purchase closely at all. In contrast, 28 percent of Americans followed the recent U.S. embassy closings and terrorist threats “very closely.”
Would public pressure to cut off aid make a difference? The New York Times reported Sunday that the Obama administration is already looking to stop aid to the Egyptian government, but it hasn’t made any decisions on the $585 million in military aid remaining this year. Members of Congress haven’t come to any sort of agreement either. And even if aid is cut off, it may not really even hurt the Egyptian military, which has promises from Saudi Arabia that Arab countries will step in to pick up the slack if any countries pull aid.
But, it’s summertime, we’re deep into August, and it’s the last few days before schools across the country start up again. Americans are largely otherwise occupied.
What We're Following See More »
In a unanimous decision, "the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it violates insider-trading laws for a corporate officer to make a “gift” of insider information to a relative, a decision that makes it easier for those who police Wall Street to bring prosecutions."
House Speaker Paul Ryan has decreed that House members "won’t receive their committee assignments until January — after they cast a public vote on the House floor for speaker. "The move has sparked behind-the-scenes grumbling from a handful of Ryan critics, who say the delay allows him and the Speaker-aligned Steering Committee to dole out committee assignments based on political loyalty rather than merit or expertise." The roll call to elect the speaker is set for Jan. 3, the first vote of the new Congress.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.
As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."