Senate Votes on Paul Amendment to Prevent Sale of F-16s to Egypt
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate today voted on a series of amendments to H.R.325, the debt limit bill. Included in the amendment votes was one introduced by Sen. Rand Paul that would prohibit the U.S. government from selling F-16 military aircraft, M1 tanks, and similar military weapons to the Egyptian government. The amendment failed, 79-19.
Prior to the vote, Sen. Paul took to the Senate floor to discuss his amendment. Below is video and transcript of his speech.
I rise today to present legislation that would stop the transfer of F-16s and Abrams tanks to Egypt. 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.
Ironically, a year ago the Arab spring occurred. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Tahrir square to protest a government that was instituting martial law. Ironically the current President now has instituted martial law and once again the dreaded indefinite intention is threatened to citizens in Egypt.
As the writing expands, many see Egypt descending into chaos. What is President Obama's response to this? To send them some of the most sophisticated weapons we have: F-16 fighters and Abrams tanks. I think this is particularly unwise, and this legislation will stop it.
I think this is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious zealot, a religious zealot who said recently that ‘Jews were bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and pigs.' This doesn't sound like the kind of stable personality we would be sending our most sophisticated weapons to.
I think it is a grave mistake to send F-16s and tanks to a country that detained American citizens on trumped up political charges. On a country that currently is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-up political charges.
I think it is a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16s and tanks, to a company that allowed a mob chanting "death to America" to threaten our American diplomats.
I am concerned that these weapons, some of the most sophisticated weapons in the world, someday may be used against Israel. I'm concerned that these weapons threaten Israel's security and that sending weapons to a country with a president who recently was seen to be chanting "amen" to a cleric that was saying "death to Israel and death to those who support Israel."
I think it's foolhardy to support and send arms to both sides of an arms race. We send 20 F-16s to Egypt which already has 240 F-16s. We send 20 in addition. What does Israel feel? They've got to have two for every one Egypt has. It escalates an arms race. It makes it more difficult for Israel to defend herself.
Today we have a chance to stop this folly. I urge my Senators to instruct the President that we will not send any more F-16s and any more Abrams tanks to the current government of Egypt. Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield back my time.