WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced on Thursday a joint resolution of disapproval to force the U.S. Senate to vote on a resolution blocking a portion of new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in support of their military campaign in Yemen. The senators’ resolution comes after the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee received official notice of pending sales of offensive weapons, including precision-guided munitions, last Friday.
The newly noticed sale is part of a broader arms agreement that commits the U.S. to nearly $110 billion in immediate defense equipment sales and training and up to $350 billion over 10 years.
"Thousands of civilians are being killed in the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen while terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS are getting stronger by the day. Selling the Saudis precision-guided munitions that are going to be used to target civilians makes us complicit in this humanitarian and national security disaster. Saudi Arabia needs to see that there will be consequences if they ignore U.S. demands and target civilian infrastructure," said Murphy.
“It is time we pause and consider the repercussions before we continue to fuel arms races around the world,” said Paul. “Given Saudi Arabia’s past support of terror, poor human rights record, and questionable tactics in its war in Yemen, Congress must carefully consider and thoroughly debate if selling them billions of dollars of arms is in our best national security interest at this time.”
“Thousands of civilians have been unjustly killed or wounded by Saudi-led forces in the Yemeni civil war,” said Franken. “But despite this tragedy, the U.S. continues to sell billions of dollars of weaponry to the Saudis while turning a blind eye to their indiscriminate killing of children, women, and men in Yemen. Our bipartisan resolution would block the latest weapon sale and help demonstrate that the U.S. won’t stand for what the Saudis are doing to innocent people.”
The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 provides the special procedures whereby a senator can force a vote on an arms sale. In 2016, Senators Paul, Murphy, and Franken introduced a bipartisan resolution to block the sale of $1.15 billion in Abrams tanks and associated major defense articles to Saudi Arabia.
Text of the resolution is available HERE.