The Senate on Wednesday defeated a proposal to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt. The measure, pushed by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in the wake of the military takeover in Egypt, only got the backing of 13 senators.
The measure would have shut off $1.5 billion in aid to Cairo.
The proposal from Paul was not new. A similar measure of his received just 10 votes last fall.
Both parties have internal disagreements over this issue, but Democrats said earlier this week the vote may be tougher for Republicans, who are divided between libertarian sentiments against foreign aid and conservative bullishness to use funding as leverage overseas.
For the White House, the vote came as officials try to thread a slim policy needle, refusing to determine whether the military takeover of the Egyptian government was a coup. If it were officially labeled as a coup, U.S. law dictates that foreign aid should stop.
Aid to Egypt is becoming a perennial source of political tension in Washington. Last year, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a waiver to allow U.S. funds to flow to Cairo, despite crackdowns against groups aiming to build democracy in the country. Fellow Democrats, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, openly expressed disappointment at the decision, saying the Egyptian government needed to meet the full conditions of transitioning to a democracy.