Sen. Rand Paul says lawmakers who defeated his amendment Thursday that would have banned the sale of advanced F-16 fighter jets to Egypt are “out of touch” with how Americans feel about deteriorating events in Egypt, where violent protests against President Mohammed Morsi have erupted.
“You have seen those pictures of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people rioting in the street. Does that look like a stable country to you?” the Kentucky Republican told Fox News's Eric Bolling Thursday shortly after the Senate rejected his amendment.
"Combine that with some of the commentary by President Morsi that was translated to say the Jews were bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and pigs.”
“I don’t understand the other side. . . . They just keep doing the same thing, but I think it’s wrong," Paul said. “And here’s the thing, is that if you polled this question, I think 80 percent of the people are with me that we shouldn’t be sending weapons to Egypt.”
Paul noted that "80 percent of the senators" voted against his amendment, which he said shows "how out of touch they are in Washington."
"It also is a good reason," he added, "why we ought to have term limits, because, frankly, these guys just don't get it."
Aid to Egypt has been a controversial subject among U.S. lawmakers since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood under Mohamed Morsi. But the most controversial element of the aid arrangement negotiated before Morsi was elected some five months ago is a $1.5 billion arms package that includes the F-16s.
Paul last week expressed concern that the weapons could spur a regional arms race and threaten Israel’s security.
While Paul’s amendment would have stopped the sale in its tracks, Sen. Jim Inhofe introduced a bill on Thursday that would make the sale conditional until Morsi's government demonstrates significant progress in creating a democracy.
“For months, I have been calling on the president and his administration to delay F-16 deliveries to Egypt,” the Oklahoma Republican said in a statement. “I still am insisting the administration suspend this transaction to Egypt.”
“For decades, the U.S. has had a good relationship with Egypt, training their troops and working together to maintain peace and stability in the region," Inhofe continued, noting U.S. support for Egyptian military, which he said "Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have currently distanced themselves from."
“Egypt’s military is our friend. Morsi is our enemy," he declared.
The Inhofe measure would delay further deliveries of F-16s until Obama certifies to Congress that Egypt agrees to uphold its commitments under the Camp David Peace Accords, provide proper security at the U.S. embassy and consulate facilities, recognize political opposition, and consider a power-sharing coalition government.
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