The Obama administration officially came out this week with its planned sale of $60 billion in military hardware to Saudi Arabia, an announcement that did not please Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.
Berkley today blasted the sale, saying the kingdom is no friend to the United States.
"I strongly oppose the sale of these weapons to a nation with a history of financing terrorism aimed at America and its allies," Berkley said in a statement. "Saudi Arabia openly teaches the hatred of Christians and Jews to its school children and we are sending the wrong message by selling arms to a nation that so routinely fails to act like an ally.” she said in a press release.
Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, officially announced the Obama administration’s planned sale at a press briefing Wednesday, where he dismissed concerns that opponents in Congress could derail the proposal. They have 30-days to weigh in before the Obama administration can proceed with the sale.
“We feel comfortable that we have done adequate pre-consultations with members of Congress that there will not be a barrier to completing this sale,” he said.
Shapiro said the sale of upgraded F-15s, Apache, Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters, would send “a strong message” to allies in the Middle East that the United States is committed to supporting their security.
“This proposed sale has tremendous significance from a strategic regional perspective,” he said.
Shapiro also said that the sale would not harm Israel’s security interests or take away from its military edge in the region.
But Berkley said that past arms sales to Saudi Arabia have not changed or ended Saudi Arabia’s support for terrorism or its continued teaching of hatred against Christians and Jews.
Berkley, along with Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Christopher Carney, D-Pa., has sent letters to House members urging them to reject the deal when Congress returns for a post-election lame duck session.
David Cherry, a spokesman for Berkley, acknowledged that Congress is unlikely to reject the sale but said the congresswoman would “look to air her objections” and raise her long standing concerns about Saudi Arabia’s financing of terrorism.