A bipartisan move is ongoing to prevent US President Donald Trump from bypassing a long-standing precedent that enables lawmakers to review major sales of guns to Saudi Arabia.
Two senators – Republican Todd Young and Democrat Chris Murphy – both sitting on the Committee on Foreign Relations, are preparing today to introduce a bill to force a vote on present and future U.S. weapons sales and other military help to Saudi Arabia.
The Bill happens to be the first in a series of suggested resolutions announced last week that would require votes on each of the arms sales that make up Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan’s $8.1 billion arms package announced in May by Trump’s admiration.
By declaring a national emergency on the basis of Iran’s safety threat, Trump circumvented Congress. He set aside objections from U.S. lawmakers to complete arms sales to his allies in the Gulf and instigated a war tug over who had the final say in such matters.
Members of Congress, furious at the enormous civilian toll of Saudi Air Campaign in Yemen, as well as human rights abuses such as the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, had for months been blocking offensive military machinery sales to the Kingdom and the UAE.
The decision is reported to have angered members of both sides who were concerned that the laid back approach of Trump would eliminate the capacity of Congress to stop not only Trump, but also future presidents from selling guns where they wanted to.
“The process we are setting in motion will allow Congress to weigh in on the totality of our security relationship with Saudi Arabia, not just one arms sale, and restore Congress’ role in foreign policy-making,”Murphy said in a statement reported by NBC News
This proposal is the recent war tug between US legislators and President Trump, whose authoritarian government style has placed him at odds with Congress representatives. This feature of the reign of Trump was a significant point of discussion. Trump issued 91 executive orders, considerably greater than its predecessors, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.
One Middle East analyst said American nervousness over arms sales to Saudi Arabia is also due to pro-Israeli Congress representatives who are keen to help the kingdom create advanced weapons systems that might one day rival the Zionist state.