Senators launch Resolutions to Block Saudi Arms Sales


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.