The Senate has voted to block President Donald Trump’s “emergency” arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
In a vote of 51-45, lawmakers opted to block the additional 20 arms sales — meaning another veto showdown could be in the cards.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul and Todd Young joined with Democrats to pass the block the deal which is estimated to be worth over $8 billion. Many who oppose the sale cited the brutality of Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen and the amount of civilian casualties.
President Trump had used an “emergency” provision of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) to go around Congress and authorize the sales.
“For months upon months, this administration has failed to demonstrate how equipping the Saudis with more weapons would improve the Saudis’ respect for human rights in Yemen or advance America’s own values and national security interests,” Sen. Bob Menendez said, according to a report from The Hill.
The Hill also reports that the White House Office of Management and Budget issued a veto statement against all 22 resolutions of disapproval ahead of Thursday’s vote.
“The transfer of these capabilities and services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan directly supports the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of friendly countries that continue to be important forces for political and economic stability in the Middle East,” OMB said in a statement.
AntiWar.com reports that “in addition to blocking sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the resolutions also mentioned related transfers to Italy, Spain, Britain, and Northern Ireland. Jordan was also mentioned, by way of the UAE intending to buy 500 missiles to give to Jordan as a gift as part of this emergency.”