WASHINGTON — Two influential US lawmakers want to speed arms shipments to Jordan, saying the burning death of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State should allow for the bypassing of red tape.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and other lawmakers from both chambers met privately Monday with King Abdullah of Jordan, meetings that happened to coincide with the violent Islamic group releasing a video showing Jordanian military pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned to death in a cage.
In those closed-door sessions, Abdullah expressed frustration with the length of time it takes weapon sales to weave through the complex labyrinth that is the American federal bureaucracy.
"It takes way too long," Thornberry said Wednesday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
Asked what Washington should do in response to the Islamic State's latest brazen act, Thornberry said speeding shipments of things like fuel and munitions to Jordan should come "first and immediate."
He also said the United States should "accelerate" its military and other efforts in Iraq and Syria targeting the Islamic State group.
Appearing on the program moments earlier, Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said that panel heard similar concerns from Abdullah.
Manchin said he expects US lawmakers to quickly explore steps that would allow them to get around the red tape involved with the foreign military sales (FMS) process.
Any unplanned sales to Jordan would be a shot in the arm of the US defense sector, which says — despite record profits — it has been hurt by annual across-the-board Pentagon budget cuts.
At the start of Ashton Carter's confirmation hearing to be secretary of defense, SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the chamber could soon move legislation to meet the military needs spelled out by Abdullah.