“When I tried to warn the Trump administration, it was completely irresponsible to avoid the planned process of considering mass weapons injection into a country in a turbulent region with many conflicts,” Menendez said in a statement.
Senators accuse the Trump administration of violating the standard of arms sales to foreign countries, including a congressional review period. They said management had not responded to their questions about “how the United States will deal with the specific national security risks inherent in the proposed sale,” which includes 50 F-35s, a massive stockpile of missiles and 18 Reaper drones.
Such weapons would be a serious improvement on Abu Dhabi’s military capabilities as they continue to use proxies in Yemen and other countries.
In addition to their concerns about escalating tensions in the region, Democrats have argued that the outgoing Trump administration should not make major foreign policy moves during the presidency – especially those that could deter the incoming Biden administration.
“This big sale and the consequent lame duck should not happen in the days leading up to the presidency, and Congress should take action to stop this dangerous arms deal,” Murphy said.
Citing concerns about human rights in Abu Dhabi’s historic record, President Ilhan Omar (D-M) plans to introduce similar measures in the House.
But transfers are unlikely to be prevented by Congress. President Donald Trump is committed to vetoing any attempt to thwart the sale, and a two-thirds majority in both chambers will be required to overturn the veto.
The legal 30-day window for blocking sales ends on December 10th.
Jacqueline Feltzer contributed to this report.