US Senate passes bill to block Saudi arms sales
The US Senate recently passed a resolution that would block the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, offering a rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump. The bipartisan bill passed with a 53-45 vote, and is the first of 22 resolutions that are aimed at blocking the military sales to the Middle East. The vote was the first in a series of three back-to-back votes, and would potentially stop billions of dollars in munitions sales to Riyadh. However, the bill still has to pass through the House and it is likely that Trump will veto the bill, and the Senate does not seem to have enough of a majority to override a potential veto.
Democrats and Republicans have joined forces in their anger at the Trump administration over using its declaration of an emergency over Iran to bypass Congress and approve arms sales to the Kingdom. The nearly two dozen joint resolutions of disapproval are meant to rebuke the Trump administration’s declaration. Earlier, Trump had invoked a rarely used provision of U.S. arms control laws to circumvent Congress and authorize weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies. While arms sales usually go through a 30-day congressional review period, the provision allows for this process to be skipped in the case of an emergency.
Congress was notified by the Trump administration of the invocation and was shown a deal comprising 22 separate arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan valued at $8.1 billion. A group of Senators, both Democrat and Republican and led by Sen. Bob Menendez and Sen. Lindsey Graham, had initially filed 22 resolutions of disapproval, one for each of the arms sales the White House approved.
There is also bipartisan anger within Congress over the Trump administration’s support for Saudi Arabia despite pressure from lawmakers to punish the country over the murder of Saudi journalist andWashington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last October.