The expected veto threat cites the importance of sales to U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives.
United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued a formal threat to veto Congressional efforts to block its plans for $ 23 billion in military sales to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Senate is due to vote on sales disapproval resolutions later Wednesday.
In its policy statement, the White House said the sales directly support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by “allowing the UAE to deter aggressive behavior and growing Iranian threats” following its recent deal to normalization with Israel.
The threat of a veto was expected. The Trump administration told the US Congress on November 10 that it had approved the massive sale to the United Arab Emirates of products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp. The deal includes up to 50 F-35s, the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. ; over 14,000 bombs and ammunition; and the second-largest US single-country drone sale.
U.S. law requires Congressional review of major arms agreements and allows senators to force votes on disapproval resolutions.
But to be effective, resolutions must pass the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-led House of Representatives, and garner two-thirds majorities in both chambers to survive Trump’s veto.
Critics said the Trump administration was looking to rush sales as it negotiated a standardization agreement between the UAE and Israel, has provided too little information, including on safeguards to ensure weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.
Some lawmakers are also concerned about violating the US guarantee that Israel will retain a military advantage over other countries in the region. But Israel, which enjoys strong support in the US Congress, has said it does not oppose the sales.
Past steps to block Trump’s arms deals have passed through the House and Senate, but have failed to garner enough support to overturn his vetoes.