Senators launch Resolutions to Block Saudi Arms Sales

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Directly challenging US President Donald Trump’s use of executive power, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are banding together to introduce more than a dozen resolutions aimed at blocking the Trump administration’ sale weapons  to Saudi Arabia.

The maneuver amounts to a remarkable display of bipartisan pushback to Trump’s foreign policy and threatens to tangle the Senate in a series of floor votes this summer.

Anger has been mounting in Congress over the Trump administration’s close ties to the Saudis, fueled by the high civilian casualties in the Saudi-led war in Yemen — a military campaign the US is assisting — and the killing of US-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Trump’s decision in May to sell the weapons, in a manner intended to bypass congressional review, further inflamed the tensions.

Menendez’s introduction of the 22 resolutions Wednesday creates a challenge for Senate leadership, as he is using a procedure that can force action on the Senate floor. Other supporters of the effort include Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a longtime critic of the war in Yemen, Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana, and Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Jack Reed of Rhode Island

Lawmakers blocked about $2 billion in arms sales to the kingdom for more than a year, citing concerns over human rights. Separately, Congress passed legislation this year that would have ended US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Trump vetoed the measure.