Senate Tables Amendment Banning Weapons Sales to Egypt
The Senate voted on Thursday to table an amendment to the debt limit bill that would have halted the sale of tanks and fighter planes to Egypt. The amendment, sponsored by Rand Paul (R-KY), sought “to prohibit the sale, lease, transfer, retransfer, or delivery of F-16 aircraft, M1 tanks, or certain other defense articles or services to the Government of Egypt.” In presenting the amendment, Paul said, “I think it particularly unwise to send tanks and our most sophisticated fighter planes to Egypt at a time at which many are saying the country may be unraveling.” He also expressed concern over President Morsi’s anti-semetic comments, Egypt’s detention of American citizens “on trumped-up political charges,” the attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, that the weapons will escalate an arms race and potentially be used against Israel.
The measure, which was co-sponsored by Mike Lee (R-UT), failed by a vote of 79-19. Seventeen additional Republicans supported it: John Boozman (R-AR), Daniel Coats (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), James E. Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), and David Vitter (R-LA). Paul then introduced the measure as a separate bill and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced similar legislation, but drew a distinction between the Egyptian government and military. Inhofe said, “We need to continue to support the Egyptian military, which Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have currently distanced themselves from…Egypt’s military is our friend — Morsi is our enemy.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee opposed Paul’s amendment. “An AIPAC official explained to The Daily Caller News Foundation that the committee feared that the measure, if passed, would diminish U.S. influence in Egypt.”