The Trump administration’s arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates may be in trouble as a bipartisan group of senators will try to block the White House’s use of emergency authority to complete the transaction.
It started when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed Congress on May 24 of the plan to complete an arms sale worth billions of dollars through a provision in the Arms Export Control Act. Senators from both sides of the aisle have joined the fight as the White House and Congress wrestle over the role Congress should take in deciding U.S. foreign policy.
The group, which includes the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat, Bob Menendez, D-N.J., plans to introduce 22 resolutions of disapproval — one for each of the deals the Trump administration is trying to push through, according to The Washington Post.
Mendez said in a statement that he is “prepared to move forward with any and all options to nullify the licenses at issue for both Saudi Arabia and UAE and eliminate any ability for the Administration to bypass Congress in future arms sales.”
Joining Menendez is one of President Donald Trump’s biggest Republican congressional allies, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R. S.C. Graham has been a vocal critic of Trump’s preferential treatment of Saudi leaders, especially after the grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, according to The Washington Post. The CIA believes the killings were commanded by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia,” Graham said in a statement. “I am also very concerned about the precedent these arms sales would set by having the administration go around legitimate concerns of the Congress. I expect and look forward to strong bipartisan support for these resolutions of disapproval.”
Menendez and Graham are joined by Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Vermont’s Patrick Leahy and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed, along with Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Indiana’s Todd Young.