Cutting Egypt aid could impact jobs in U.S.

(CBS News) ARCHBALD, Pa. -- The White House has condemned the violence in Egypt and has not ruled out cutting off military aid. But if that happened, you might be surprised by who would get hurt.

The M1A1 has been the centerpiece of U.S. aid to Egypt.
The M1A1 has been the centerpiece of U.S. aid to Egypt.
CBS News

The billion dollars in aid Congress approves for Egypt does not go directly to Cairo. Instead, it goes to places such as Archbald, Pa. The General Dynamics factory there makes parts for the M1A1 Abrams tank. General Dynamics is filling an order for 125 tank kits for the Egyptian Army. One-hundred-thirty people work at the Archbald facility.

Archbald Mayor Ed Fairbrother says the jobs are "extremely important" to the community.

"They are some of the best jobs we have in the community," he says. "Those are the kinds of jobs that sustain communities and families."

Archbald Mayor Ed Fairbrother
Archbald Mayor Ed Fairbrother
CBS News

There are 44 companies in Pennsylvania alone involved in production of the M1A1, which has been the centerpiece of U.S. aid to Egypt. Since the 1980s, factories in Ohio and Michigan have also helped make the thousand tanks sent to Egypt.

Robert Springborg, who has closely studied Egypt's military says the country "doesn't need those tanks -- it never needed those tanks."

Springborg says some of the kits sent to Egypt are still in crates.

Robert Springborg
Robert Springborg
CBS News

"It's a weapon for show, not a weapon that the Egyptian military under any conceivable scenario is going to use in the immediate, near or even the distant future," he says.

But the tank kits destined for Egypt have helped keep American manufacturers busy at a time when the U.S. Army is making cuts. So stopping Egyptian aid is a sensitive topic in Archbald.

Watch: Politicians call on U.S. to cut off aid to Egypt

"It impacts every community," Fairbrother says. "If it impacts A, then it impacts B, it hits C. Well, we're D, E or F down the road. But we're going to feel it eventually, too."

We tried speaking with workers at the plant, but they declined to talk to us, saying the company advised them not to. General Dynamics also declined to comment, saying it would not specwe tried speaking w workers at the plant btu theyd ec to rtalk to us saying the comp advised them not to. the company declined to also declined to coment saying it would hnot spec on the future of the program

  • Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.

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