Senators seek another way to push back on Trump's Saudi Arabia policy

Senators seek another way to push back on Trump's Saudi Arabia policy”

The goal is to "protect and reaffirm Congress' role of approving arms sales to foreign governments", the report said.

On Friday, The New York Times reported that the contested arms deal-secured after Trump used an emergency declaration last month to push it through without congressional approval-will allow for high-tech USA bomb parts to be manufactured in Saudi Arabia.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including staunch Trump ally Lindsey Graham, have blasted the arms deal, and senators have announced 22 resolutions against it-one for each sale.

Some of the weapons could be delivered to Saudi Arabia later this year, while other arms will not ship for another year or more.

"We are taking this step today to show that we will not stand idly by and allow the president or the secretary of state to further erode Congressional review and oversight of arm sales", said Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

If Trump succeeds in getting around Congress, these weapons sales will prolong suffering in Yemen and eliminate one of the last levers that allowed the USA to exert influence over Saudi and Emirati actions: the threat of Congress blocking arms deals.

The resolution @SenToddYoung and I will introduce tomorrow is an innovative one.

A provision of the Arms Export Control Act allows such sales to go through immediately without a 30-day congressional review period in cases deemed an emergency.

But over the past month the administration has inflated the threat posed by Iran to U.S. troops and allies in the Middle East and several hawkish Trump aides, especially national security adviser John Bolton, have pushed for a new confrontation with Tehran. Under the deal, Raytheon would work directly with Saudi Arabia on precision-guided bomb technology, which has been used against civilians in the US -backed war in Yemen.

Additionally, as first reported Friday by The New York Times, the Raytheon-made Paveway smart bombs will be co-manufactured in Saudi Arabia - raising concerns that doing so could give the Saudis access to technology to produce their own version of the bombs. Upon receiving it, Congress can then vote on "terminating or restricting security assistance", including the arms sales, the release states.

WELNA: Graham has been a big supporter of President Trump, but he's been critical when it comes to the October murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a death Graham blames on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials, MBS. The disapproval resolutions, should they pass, could well meet the same fate. Will he join us in supporting the resolution? In their latest effort to stop the weapons sales, congressional critics of the war will likely need to secure a veto-proof majority. But he said that in general he does not support the arms sales.

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