Three bipartisan U.S. senators are attempting to block a $23 billion arms deal with the United Arab Emirates made by the Trump administration.
The senators submitted four separate resolutions Wednesday aimed at halting the administration's plan to sell arms to the Middle Eastern sovereign state.
Republican Senator Rand Paul, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic Senator Bob Menendez submitted the resolutions to block the sale of arms which include several armed drones, missiles, bombs and UAE F-35 fighter jets.
"As I tried to warn the Trump administration, circumventing deliberative processes for considering a massive infusion of weapons to a country in a volatile region with multiple ongoing conflicts is downright irresponsible," Menendez said.
The Trump administration initially announced its approval for the sale of the weapons to the UAE last week. The package included 50 F-35 jets worth $10.4 billion, air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions worth $10 billion and 18 MQ-9B drones worth $2.97 billion.
The approval was subject to a 30-day period where Congress can move to block the deal through submitted resolutions. Under "privileged" resolutions for U.S. arms sales, Senators can force a vote to approve or deny such transactions.
Senator Murphy said in a statement Wednesday that while the UAE may be an important ally its recent actions could indicate its intention of using the weapons to violate U.S. and international laws. He said the UAE had previously violated past arms agreements after the U.S. found some of its weapons in the hands of dangerous militia groups.
Lawmakers have continually expressed concerns on the U.S.' continued sale of arms, which could give countries a military advantage. Arms sales to other countries have been a point of tension between Congress and the Trump administration in the past.
Experts have said that allowing such a deal to proceed would likely undermine Israel's military advantage in the region. Israel initially opposed the sale of arms to the UAE even after it had signed the Abraham Accords. However, the country retracted its stance and said that it was not in opposition to the sale of "certain weapon systems." The reversal came after the U.S. had agreed to provide unspecified upgrades to its military.