Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation to block the Trump administration's effort to expedite the sale of $23.7 billion worth of military equipment to the United Arab Emirates.
Last week, the State Department approved three possible weapons deals, totaling $23.37 billion, to the UAE, including $10.4 billion for 50 F-35A aircraft.
The deal prompted some in the Senate to ask the State Department to certify that it "does not diminish Israel's qualitative military edge and poses no vulnerabilities to U.S. military systems and technology."
On Wednesday, Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said they plan to introduce four separate Joint Resolutions of Disapproval rejecting the administration's effort to equip the country with the munitions.
A press release from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said the administration "circumvented the informal congressional review process that grants the Congressional committees of jurisdiction time to ensure proposed arms sales of this magnitude are consistent with U.S. values, national security objectives, and the safety of our allies."
"There are a number of outstanding concerns as to how these sales would impact the national security interests of both the United States and of Israel," Menendez said in the release.
"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," Menendez said.
The administration also refused to respond to Congressional inquiries about potential national security risks related to the sale, the senators said.
"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," Murphy said.
"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," Murphy said.
The press release includes a link to a letter Menendez and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper in October with questions about the potential sale.