The Biden administration's planned $650 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia is facing bipartisan opposition in the Senate, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., vowing to force a vote in his joint resolution disapproving of it.
Paul's resolution was introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, and now Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has signed on as a co-sponsor and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has companion legislation.
Paul told Politico he plans to force the vote "within the next week" as the Senate action stalls on the annual defense policy bill.
"A message needs to be sent to Saudi Arabia that we don't approve of their war with Yemen," Paul wrote in a statement introducing the resolution. "By participating in this sale, we would not only be rewarding reprehensible behavior, but also exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in Yemen. I urge Congress and the Biden administration to consider the possible consequences of this sale that could accelerate an arms race in the Middle East and jeopardize the security of our military technologies."
The president would be expected to veto anything passed in Congress, so the question remains whether the Senate can find the two-thirds vote to override President Joe Biden's potential veto, according to the report.
"As the Saudi government continues to wage its devastating war in Yemen and repress its own people, we should not be rewarding them with more arms sales," Sanders wrote in a statement introducing the resolution.
The sale includes 280 air-to-air missiles and 596 missile launchers, among other weapons and associated training and support, with an estimated cost of $650 billion.
"The war in Yemen is a humanitarian tragedy, and U.S. participation in this war remains undeclared by Congress," Lee wrote in a statement. "The administration’s proposed arms sale to Saudi Arabia contradicts the President’s own stated policy. I am proud to once again stand with my colleagues and push back on unconstitutional support of this war."
In addition to the rebuke of the Yemen war, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reported ties to the brutal murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi have brought renewed scrutiny. The Biden administration released an intelligence report earlier this year declaring MBS "approved" of the operation to kill the Saudi dissident journalist who was living in the United States and writing for The Washington Post.
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