(Newsroom America) -- A decision by the Obama White House to provide $450 million in aid to Egypt has been met with resistence from a prominent Republican House member over concerns about the course of the North African nation's fledgling Muslim Brotherhood government, The New York Times reported Friday.
The aid is part of $1 billion earmarked for Egypt last year, following the ouster of longtime leader President Hosni Mubarak. The money, said the administration, was to help the country transition to democracy.
But recent anti-American protests in Egypt, along with damage to the U.S. embassy in Cairo, has left some members of Congress leery and skeptical of the new government's motives.
The United States Agency for International Development notified Congress of the cash transfer early Friday, during the pre-election recess. The notification ignited "a smoldering debate over foreign aid and the administration’s handling of crises in the Islamic world," the Times reported.
One influential lawmaker, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, announced immediately she planned to use her position as chairwoman of the House subcommittee that oversees foreign aid appropriations to block the money transfer.
She said the U.S.-Egypt relationship "has never been under more scrutiny" than it is now, following the election of President Mohamed Morsi, former leader of the hardline Islamic group.
"I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time," Granger said in a statement, according to the paper.
During a meeting of the the Group of 8 nations in New York on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the world needed to do more to support the new governments that have emerged from the so-called Arab Spring, including those in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.
The issue comes as President Barack Obama and his Republican presidential challenger, Mitt Romney, are scheduled to have the first of three debates next week. Foreign policy has come sharply into focus in recent days following the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans, on the Sept. 11 anniversary.
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