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June 13, 2019, 2:05 p.m. EDT

Senate nixes Rand Paul’s effort to block arms sales to Qatar, Bahrain

But Kentucky Republican’s push gets support from more 40 senators

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By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Qatar is set to get new AH-64E Apache Attack helicopters.

The Senate on Thursday voted against an effort to block sales of certain U.S. arms to Qatar and Bahrain, though Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s push got support from more than 40% of the chamber.

His measure targeting the arms sales to Qatar was defeated by a vote of 42-57, while the one aimed at Bahrain lost 43-56.

President Donald Trump’s administration had warned earlier Thursday that his advisers would recommend that he veto the resolutions disapproving the arms sales to the two Middle Eastern countries, if they were passed by the Senate.

The administration said the Qatar resolution related to a $3 billion sale of 24 AH-64E Apache Attack helicopters, while the Bahrain measure had to do with a $750 million sale of a weapons package supporting F-16 fighter jets. Boeing Co. /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA -0.51%  makes Apache helicopters, and Lockheed Martin Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200691238/composite LMT -0.91%   produces F-16s, having taken over production from General Dynamics Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208560027/composite GD -1.14%  

“The Middle East is a hot cauldron continuing and continually threatening to boil over. I think it is a mistake to funnel arms into these centuries-old conflicts,” Paul said Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor before his resolutions were defeated.

“The argument goes that we must arm anyone who is not Iran,” he also said. “What would happen if we just said no?”

On the other hand, the Trump administration praised Qatar and Bahrain , saying the two nations work with the U.S. to counter Iran and the terrorist groups Al Qaeda and ISIS.

/zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 384.44
-1.97 -0.51%
Volume: 3.03M
Sept. 19, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
45.02
Dividend Yield
2.14%
Market Cap
$216.33 billion
Rev. per Employee
$660,961
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/zigman2/quotes/200691238/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 393.43
-3.61 -0.91%
Volume: 1.05M
Sept. 19, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
19.17
Dividend Yield
2.24%
Market Cap
$111.10 billion
Rev. per Employee
$512,019
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/zigman2/quotes/208560027/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 188.13
-2.17 -1.14%
Volume: 1.30M
Sept. 19, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
16.72
Dividend Yield
2.17%
Market Cap
$54.34 billion
Rev. per Employee
$342,737
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Victor Reklaitis is MarketWatch's Money & Politics reporter and is based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @VicRek.

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