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Senate Blocks Huge Arms Sale To Saudis; Trump Pledges Veto

Published: June 20, 2019
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In a bipartisan effort, the Senate voted to block the sale of billions of dollars worth of arms to Saudi Arabia by a 53-45 margin today. But the win for critics of the Saudi-led war in Yemen may be short-lived however, as the total falls well short of the 67 votes needed to override the veto the White House has promised to deliver.

So today’s vote amounts to a bipartisan slap on the wrist for the White House and its unwavering support for the regime of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It’s the second time this year Republicans and Democrats have come together to oppose President Trump’s policy towards Riyadh. In April, both the House and Senate approved legislation to cut off military assistance to Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, only to see it vetoed in April when the Senate couldn’t muster the 67 votes needed to override Trump’s veto.

Many lawmakers bristled at the White House’s end run around traditional Congressional assent for arms deals last month, when the administration declared an emergency and announced $8.1 billion worth of arms sales to Saudi, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. The administration claimed Iran was posed an immediate threat to the region, and the weapons would provide a deterrent to Iranian adventurism.

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