Senate Votes to Disapprove Trump’s Arms Transfer to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Others
Yesterday June 21, 2019 the United States Senate voted 51-45, in a party-line vote, to disapprove of the “military sale” of “certain defense articles and services” to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, France, South Korea, Israel, and India (1). The weapons sale was announced almost one month ago, when President Trump declared that a national “emergency exists which requires the proposed sale in the national security interest of the United States, thus waiving the congressional review requirements” (2). Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to President Trump, saying he “is claiming emergency power and trying to circumvent congressional review of these arms sales” (3). Continuing, the Senator from New York emphasized that the President’s claim of having emergency power “must be rejected”, and “the very least Congress can do is to debate the merits of sending Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in military technology it may use… to perpetrate one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes of its generation[, and] Saudi Arabia, even though it be an ally, must be held accountable for its human rights abuses in Yemen and the grotesque murder of Jamal Khashoggi” (3). Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate’s “rejecting [the] arms sales strikes [him] as an overly blunt tool with several unintended consequences,… [as] the arms sales affected by this vote are not just for Saudi Arabia but also… affect Israel, India, Korea, and Jordan” (3). With its passing the Senate yesterday, the resolution will now head to the House of Representatives, where it will likely pass, and subsequently end up back on President Trump’s desk, however, there is no sign or requirement he will not proceed with the sale (4).