A bipartisan mix of senators on Wednesday issued 22 separate resolutions to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
The Arms Export Control Act typically allows Congress 30 days to review potential international arms sales. The Trump administration, though, indicated last month that it intended to use an emergency provision of the act that would bypass the review and allow an immediate $8.1 billion weapons sale.
The administration is justifying the use of the emergency provision by citing its invocation during previous administrations, including Reagan’s use during the Iran-Iraq War.
Senator Bob Menendez, though, explained that the “Trump administration’s effort to sell billions of US weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is yet another example of an end-run around Congress and a disregard for human rights.”
Additionally, relations with Saudi Arabia have been divisive in the US. The Trump administration continues to support close ties despite evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Congress, however, has sought to hold Salman responsible.
These factors have resulted in a broadly unified senate coalition.