Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Todd Young are introducing a bill today to force a vote on U.S. 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. On Friday, The New York Times reported that the contested arms deal—secured after Trump used an emergency declaration last month to push it through without congressional approval—will allow for high-tech U.S. bomb parts to be manufactured in Saudi Arabia. Under the deal, Raytheon would work directly with Saudi Arabia on precision-guided bomb technology, which has been used against civilians in the U.S.-backed war in Yemen. The provision is part of an $8.1 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including staunch Trump ally Lindsey Graham, have blasted the arms deal, and senators have announced 22 resolutions against it—one for each sale. Senator Chris Murphy said in a statement, “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’s role in foreign policy-making.”
In April, Trump vetoed a historic congressional War Powers Resolution ordering the U.S. to halt most military support for the war in Yemen. Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. In April, a new report by the U.N. found that the combined death toll from fighting, hunger and disease has reached nearly a quarter-million since the start of the conflict.
In related news, Raytheon and aircraft manufacturer United Technologies announced Sunday they are merging, creating a defense and aeronautics giant that would rank as the second largest behind Boeing.