Earlier this month, Florida Senator Marco Rubio teamed up with New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez in calling for a probe into the Trump administration’s ongoing nuclear power negotiations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
On his Senate website, it’s explained that both Senators “requested the GAO, a non-partisan agency which conducts studies on behalf of Congress” to “investigate reports that some of the negotiations under the Trump administration have been carried out without the oversight required by the Atomic Energy Act and in an opaque manner inconsistent with previous nuclear agreement negotiations.”
Today, the Florida Senator took to twitter to announce that “the Government Accountability Office has accepted my request to launch a probe into our governments talks on a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia.”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 28, 2019
Specifically, Senators Rubio and Menendez “raised concerns about the Trump administration’s process for negotiating the nuclear cooperation agreement, known as a 123 agreement, and about the broader security implications of a Saudi nuclear program.” Furthermore, “the senators noted that it was unusual for the Department of Energy (DOE) to appear that it is leading the negotiations, instead of the State Department, and were troubled by the administrations lack of consultations with Congress.”
The news of the investigation comes at a time when reports indicate that Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, has approved six authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia.
With this approval, companies would be allowed to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal. However, they would not be allowed to ship equipment that would go into any plant.
In turn, many U.S. lawmakers have raised concerns that sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia would create a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and it is why Senator Rubio signaled the need for an investigation.