By law, arm sales require congressional approval but the Trump administration avoided any review by lawmakers for the controversial deal by declaring a national security "emergency", citing the threat posed by Iran.
This move follows the introduction of 22 bipartisan resolutions on Wednesday that aim to block the $8.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that bypassed congressional review last month. The paper, however, added that senators had introduced 22 resolutions - one for each sale - over the previous week to block the deals.
WELNA: Trump, for his part, has consistently pushed for more weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Todd Young are introducing a bill today to force a vote on USA military support for Saudi Arabia, as a bipartisan effort to block President Trump's emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states is mounting. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who is cosponsoring the measure with Sen.
Monday's resolution is based on Section 502B (c) of the Foreign Assistance Act, which permits Congress to vote on requesting to receive human rights information on countries within 30 days, according to a press release.
But over the past month the administration has inflated the threat posed by Iran to USA 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.
The sales include warplane engines, maintenance equipment, Paveway precision guided munitions and mortar rounds. The administration is using similar scare tactics to justify its end-run around Congress to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Once the report is submitted, then we can force a vote on reforming the U.S. -Saudi security relationship - at a 50 vote threshold. "By introducing resolutions of disapproval, Republicans and Democrats are standing together in support of a process of consultation that has worked well for decades, regardless of which party controls the White House". The disapproval resolutions, should they pass, could well meet the same fate.
Murphy argued that opposition to the arms sales is growing because Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "going off the rails is now hard for the Saudis to disguise".
As the political jockeying unfolded in Washington, the United Nations Development Programme issued a report underscoring the extent of the humanitarian disaster being fueled by U.S. weapons and logistical support. In their latest effort to stop the weapons sales, congressional critics of the war will likely need to secure a veto-proof majority. Speaking two weeks after the Khashoggi murder, Trump defended Saudi arms sales by dramatically overstating their value.