Both Democratic and Republican senators are set to block President Donald Trump's plan to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to Politico.
The $500 million sale of offensive weapons to Riyadh is part of a deal the White House says is a $110 billion arms package. The senators' bid to stop it is not likely to succeed, according to Politico.
Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., are leading the effort, which they say will show the Saudis that Congress remains concerned over their involvement in the Yemen civil war.
"I think, if you were to ask the general public, should we be at war in Yemen or supporting war in Yemen, I think most people would say, 'where?' … I think there should be a valid debate on it," Paul told Politico.
Some Democrats who approved of a sale to the Saudis under President Barack Obama do not support the Trump deal. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the Foreign Relations panel's lead Democrat, publicly said he would vote to block the sales.
"The administration's decision to proceed with the sale of precision-guided munitions, absent leadership to push all parties toward a political process for a negotiated settlement, including Saudi Arabia, sends the absolutely wrong signal to our partners and our adversaries," Cardin said in a statement, according to the Foreign Policy.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., told Politico he also would vote against the sales, while Sens. Dianne Feinstein, of California and Tim Kaine of Virgina said they were leaning toward supporting Paul and Murphy's effort, Politico noted.
Murphy predicted a close vote, saying he's hoping more Republicans join in the effort. Three of the four Republicans who voted to block Obama's deal with the Saudis are still in office, Politico reported.
"We need to send the Saudis a message that they need to get serious about the humanitarian nightmare inside Yemen," Murphy said, adding that Trump's administration did not make any conditions about humanitarian concerns with the deal.
"Unfortunately, the administration has not used these weapons sales to apply that conditionally. But a strong message from the U.S. Senate that they don't have a blank check from Congress would be very important," Murphy said, Politico reports.
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