Capitol Report: Senate nixes Rand Paul’s effort to block arms sales to Qatar, Bahrain
The Senate on Thursday voted against an effort to block sales of certain U.S. arms to Qatar and Bahrain, though Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s push got support from more than 40% of the chamber.
His measure targeting the arms sales to Qatar was defeated by a vote of 42-57, while the one aimed at Bahrain lost 43-56.
President Donald Trump’s administration had warned earlier Thursday that his advisers would recommend that he veto the resolutions disapproving the arms sales to the two Middle Eastern countries, if they were passed by the Senate.
The administration said the Qatar resolution related to a $ 3 billion sale of 24 AH-64E Apache Attack helicopters, while the Bahrain measure had to do with a $ 750 million sale of a weapons package supporting F-16 fighter jets. Boeing Co. BA, +0.04% makes Apache helicopters, and Lockheed Martin Corp. LMT, +0.53% produces F-16s, having taken over production from General Dynamics Corp. GD, +0.43%
“The Middle East is a hot cauldron continuing and continually threatening to boil over. I think it is a mistake to funnel arms into these centuries-old conflicts,” Paul said Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor before his resolutions were defeated.
“The argument goes that we must arm anyone who is not Iran,” he also said. “What would happen if we just said no?”
On the other hand, the Trump administration praised Qatar and Bahrain, saying the two nations work with the U.S. to counter Iran and the terrorist groups Al Qaeda and ISIS.