Bipartisan Senators to Vote on U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

A bipartisan Senate duo will begin proceedings on Monday to block President Donald Trump’s emergency arms sales to long-time ally Saudi Arabia, their offices said over the weekend.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Todd Young will introduce a resolution Monday to force a vote in the chamber on the country’s security relationship with the Kingdom.

Senators from both sides of the aisle have already introduced 22 resolutions of disapproval to block the 22 U.S. arms sales worth a total of $8.1 billion. The resolution also targets last week’s emergency declared by President Trump to bypass Congress and expedite the sales in an effort to counter Iran’s “malign influence” in the Middle East.

CNN informs that the resolution is based on Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act that gives Congress the authority to vote on requesting to receive human rights information on countries within 30 days. After receiving it, Congress can decide to terminate or restrict security assistance, which also includes sales of arms, says a press release.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will have ten days to consider the information request once Murphy and Young’s resolution is introduced. If it fails to do so, the two senators can force a vote to move it from the committee.

“Congress needs to change how we do business with the Kingdom. The process we are setting in motion will allow Congress to weigh in on the totality of our security relationship with Saudi Arabia, not just one arms sale, and restore Congress’s role in foreign policy making,” said Murphy.

Young echoed his comments, saying that the U.S. arms sales to the Kingdom “demand Congressional oversight” and stressing that the resolution merely requests that the Secretary of State reports “on some basic questions before moving forward with them.”

The extent to which lawmakers on Capitol Hill are growing impatient with the President’s move is reflected in the fact that GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, backs the resolution, The Hill writes.

“The fact that Lindsey is leading the resolution tells you that things are shifting inside the Republican caucus,” Murphy said. “I’ve offered two prior disapproval motions on Saudi arms sales, and Lindsey led the opposition to my prior attempts to stop Saudi arms sales.”

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