Senators launch effort to block Trump from last-minute arms sale to UAE

November 19, 2020 

A bipartisan group of senators is launching an effort to block the Trump administration from going through with a $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) along with Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced four joint resolutions rejecting the president's decision to push through the transaction, which would see the UAE purchase billions in drones, fighter jets and air-to-air missiles.

The Trump administration formally notified Congress last week that it planned to go through with the massive sale, which Menendez slammed for sidestepping the normal review protocols for such weapons transfers.

By notifying Congress, the administration set off a 30-day window in which lawmakers are able to block the sales through legislation.

"We are introducing these bipartisan resolutions out of a shared understanding that Congress must strongly assert its statutory authority over our nation's foreign arms sales. As I tried to warn the Trump administration, circumventing deliberative processes for considering a massive infusion of weapons to a country in a volatile region with multiple ongoing conflicts is downright irresponsible," the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee said in a statement.

He went on to voice concerns about how the sales would impact the national security interests of the United States and Israel.

"As a result, Congress is once again stepping in to serve as a check to avoid putting profit over U.S. national security and that of our allies, and to hopefully prevent a new arms race in the Middle East."

Murphy, who serves on the panel with Menendez, voiced his support for Israel and the UAE normalizing relations as they had under President Trump, but warned that their agreement did not require the United States "to flood the region with more weapons and facilitate a dangerous arms race."

"The Emiratis are an important security partner, but their recent behavior indicates that these weapons may be used in violation of U.S. and international law. The UAE has violated past arms sales agreements, resulting in U.S. arms ending up in the arms of dangerous militia groups, and they have failed to comply with international law in Libya and Yemen," he continued, adding in closing, "A sale this large and this consequential should not happen in the waning days of a lame duck presidency, and Congress must take steps to stop this dangerous transfer of weapons."

President Trump stands with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the White House in 2017.Getty Images

In September, the UAE, Bahrain and Israel signed the "Abraham Accords," normalizing relations between Israel and the two Arab nations.

In signing the agreement, they became the third and fourth Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. The breakthrough also established direct commercial flights between Israel and the UAE.

Latest News

November 29, 2020
Trump slams judges' election decisions: 'What kind of a court system is this?'

President Trump blasted judges' rejections of his legal challenges to 2020 election results and said he couldn't be certain any of his cases would make it to the Supreme Court in his first interview since Election Day on Sunday. "We're not allowed to put in our proof. They say you don't have standing," Trump told […]

Read More
November 29, 2020
Fauci warns of ‘uptick’ in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving gatherings

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday warned that Americans should brace themselves for a COVID-19 “surge superimposed” on the current one after many traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday. “What we expect unfortunately as we go for the next few weeks into December is a surge superimposed into that surge that we’re already in,” Fauci told NBC...

Read More
November 29, 2020
Rep. Collins urges GOP voters to turn out in Senate runoff election in Georgia

GOP Rep. Doug Collins urged Republicans voters to turn out for the Senate runoff election in Georgia in January amid concerns that they will be reluctant following a recount of the 2020 election results amid allegations of fraud. “Down here in Georgia, for people across the country, they need to know that these two Senate...

Read More
November 29, 2020
Fauci urges closing New York bars in order to keep schools open

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said bars should be closed in order to prioritize getting children back in school in New York City and other regions that have experienced rising COVID-19 cases. “Close the bars and keep the schools open,” Fauci told ABC anchor Martha Raddatz on “This Week.” “The default position should be to...

Read More
November 29, 2020
Ossoff: Perdue Is 'Absolutely' a 'Crook'

Georgia U.S. Senate Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that his opponent Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) was absolutely a "crook."

Read More
November 29, 2020
Heavy rain forecast from Louisiana through the Southeast

We're still watching the same storm organize over the Southeast.

Read More