White House won't cut off aid to Egypt for now

Even though U.S. law requires Washington to cut off aid to any nation whose military ousts a democratically elected leader, White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday said it "would not be in the best interests of the United States" to cut off aid immediately.

"We are reviewing our obligations under the law, and we will be consulting with Congress about the way forward, with regards to specifically the assistance package that we provide," Carney added.

Violent clashes continue in Egypt, a week after the military overthrew the nation's democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should suspend its roughly $1.3 billion in annual aid to Egypt until there is a new constitution and a free and fair election.

"Morsi was a terrible president. Their economy is in terrible shape thanks to their policies. But the fact is, the United States should not be supporting this coup," McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

Carney on Monday said the U.S. should "take the time necessary to review what has taken place" before making any decisions about cutting off aid, as well as "monitor efforts by Egyptian authorities to forge an inclusive and democratic way forward." He declined to give a timeframe for how long the administration would take before making such a decision.

Asked whether President Obama could simply waive the legal requirement for the U.S. to suspend aid to countries where a democratically-elected leader was removed, Carney refrained from giving a direct answer.

"I would simply say that we are going to take the time necessary to review before we make any kind of determination of the nature that you're suggesting," he said. "We're going to take the time necessary to review this. We're going to consult with Congress. We're going to do so in a way that reflects the requirements that exist under law, and we're going to do so in a way that, you know, we hope enhances the possibility of fulfillment of our long-term policy objectives here, which is a transition in Egypt to democratic governance and a democratically elected government."

While President Obama has expressed his "deep concern" about the military's actions, Carney said, the White House isn't calling for Morsi's return. Rather, it's calling for a return to "democratic governance."

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