The U.S. Senate on Thursday backed the $2.2 billion sale of C-130 Super Hercules planes to Egypt, voting 81-18 against an effort to block the deal over human rights concerns.
Republican Senator Rand Paul had sought to stop the sale, joined by some of the 100-member Senate’s most progressive Democrats. Opponents of the sale argued that U.S. companies should not be selling arms to countries with poor records on human rights.
Days after the defense deal was announced in January, President Joe Biden’s administration said it would deny $130 million of military aid, or 10% of the total allocated to Egypt, if the country did not address human rights concerns.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, has overseen a crackdown on dissent that has tightened in recent years.
The sale of 12 C-130J-30 Super Hercules planes for as much as $2.2 billion would include support equipment, spares and technical support, the Pentagon said. Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) is the prime contractor for the planes.