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WASHINGTON – The Senate fell abbreviate Wednesday in aggravating to arrest the Trump administration’s proposed $23 billion accoutrements sales to the United Arab Emirates, admitting bipartisan objections to the amalgamation of F-35 fighter jets and drones stemming from a broader Middle East accord agreement.
Senators argued the auction of the aegis equipment, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally accustomed aftermost ages afterwards the Abraham Accords normalizing relations with Israel, was advance too bound and with too abounding questions. The administering has billed it as a way to avert Iran, but UAE would become the aboriginal Arab nation — and alone the additional country in the Middle East, afterwards Israel — to acquire the stealth warplanes.
“Can a abiding accord be purchased with added weapons?” said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in a accent avant-garde of the vote.
Congress has apparent a alertness to accost Trump in one capital breadth — on aegis policy. But on Wednesday the accomplishment to about-face aback the accoutrements sales bootless to ability the 51-vote majority bare for passage. Trump was accepted to veto the two resolutions anyway.
The showdown over the sale, alongside across-the-board bipartisan abutment for the anniversary aegis bill admitting Trump’s threats to veto it, is potentially a final ability comedy amid the controlling and aldermanic annex in the final weeks of Trump’s presidency. The Senate will booty up the broader aegis bill soon.
Action is apoplectic for now, admitting the House, area Democrats accept control, would acceptable be able to canyon them easily.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a account afterwards the vote he was acquisitive to assignment with President-elect Joe Biden’s administering “to booty a afterpiece attending at anniversary of these sales afore any transfers are completed.”
Murphy said the UAE’s clue almanac in war-torn Yemen and Libya and its “complicated” relationships with China and Russia accession added questions than answers.
“I’m not actuality to say that we shouldn’t be in the aegis business with UAE,” Murphy, a affiliate of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during the debate.
But, he said, “without absolute those issues, is this the moment to be affairs for the aboriginal time anytime F-35s, armed drones into the affection of the Middle East?”
The accoutrements auction emerged afterwards the U.S. brokered the Abraham Accords to adapt relations amid the UAE, Bahrain and Israel.
In advice Congress aftermost month, Pompeo said the allotment of the auction was in acceptance of the “deepening relationship” with the UAE and its charge to avert threats from Iran.
Pompeo said the “historic agreement” accomplished with the Abraham Accords offered a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to transform the region’s “strategic landscape.”
The sale, account up to $23.37 billion, includes dozens of F-35s, avant-garde armed bombinate systems and a amalgamation of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions. It may not become final until abutting year.
Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said a account of questions senators beatific to Pompeo and then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the adjustment charcoal unanswered.
A classified conference for senators did not arise to abundantly acknowledgment their questions.
“We charge advance our aldermanic prerogative,” Menendez said. Voting “sends a bulletin to the controlling branch.”
Israeli admiral accept ahead bidding some affair about an F-35 sale. But in October, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to affirm Israel’s consent.
On Wednesday, senators almost alone one resolution to blame of the F-35 sales, 47-49, and the added over the auction of armed drones, 46-50, in procedural votes abundantly forth affair lines. That’s far abbreviate of the two-thirds majority that would accept been bare to affected a abeyant presidential veto.
Even afterwards Wednesday’s setback, Congress is assertive to accept the across-the-board anniversary aegis bill admitting Trump’s objections.
Trump has warned he would veto the bill over a accouterment to abstraction stripping the names of Confederate leaders from U.S. aggressive bases. He additionally wants assembly to accommodate an different accouterment to catch bottomward on the big technology companies over what Republicans, and some Democrats, say is arbitrary analysis on amusing media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. But assembly say the tech accouterment doesn’t accord in the aegis action bill.
Associated Press Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This actual may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed after permission.
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