In a sign of the growing unease in the Senate over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and other recent actions by the government of Saudi Arabia, senators of both parties voted against selling arms to the kingdom. It was a rebuke to the president, and included even two of his most outspoken allies in the Senate, who also happen to come from opposite ends of the GOP spectrum, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham.
I agree with Rand Paul’s position on the arms sales. You can watch his speech about the sales in a video below.
Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, the Senate voted to rein in President Trump’s powers, passing three bipartisan resolutions on Thursday blocking the administration from selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Seven Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, joined all Democrats in voting for the measures blocking against sales to Saudi Arabia, each passing 53-45.
With 22 separate sales pending, the other 20 resolutions involved arms sales to other allies, including the United Arab Emirates. They were voted on en bloc, whereby four Republicans joined the Democrats in that 51-45 vote.
While sending a strong signal to the administration, all three Senate votes failed to get enough votes to override a pledged veto by the president.
Sen. Rand Paul, who was among the handful of Republicans who voted to ban the weapons sales, referenced Khashoggi on the Senate floor Thursday, saying “there is high confidence that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia butchered a dissident with a bone saw … You would think that would give us pause as to giving Saudi Arabia or selling Saudi Arabia more weapons.”
Also Thursday, the Court of Appeals in the United Kingdom ruled British arm sales to Saudi Arabia for use in the Yemen War are unlawful.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the government would suspend new sales while it looks into the implication of the ruling.
Read more here.
Today I once again spoke on the floor against selling arms to Saudi Arabia. What are the Saudis doing with all these weapons? Bombing civilians in Yemen, for one. The Saudis, with our bombs and our refueling planes, bombed a funeral procession, wounding over 400 and killing 150. pic.twitter.com/RwlI9CPxDM
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 20, 2019