WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Friday released the following statement after the Trump administration notified congressional committees of a major new arms sale to the Middle East:
“President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove of this sale. There is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there. This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that future presidents can use to sell weapons without a check from Congress. We have the constitutional duty to declare war and the responsibility to oversee arm sales that contravene our national security interests. If we don’t stand up to this abuse of authority, we will permanently box ourselves out of deciding who we should sell weapons to. I’m currently working on legislation to restrict arm sales so we can get back in this business of helping set critical foreign policy,” said Murphy.
Murphy has been a vocal critic of U.S. support for military campaigns in Yemen that have led to devastating humanitarian consequences and a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups. Murphy introduced bipartisan legislation to limit U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen and called on the Saudi government to take action to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. He also led a bipartisan request that members of the U.S. Senate receive a classified briefing on ongoing U.S. counterterrorism operations and objectives in Yemen in the wake of a deadly U.S. raid in Yemen earlier this year. Last year, Murphy introduced a bipartisan joint resolution of disapproval to block the $1.15 billion U.S. sale of Abrams tanks and associated major defense articles to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also applauded a decision by the White House in December 2016 to halt some military arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and called for further action by the United States to end military support for a war marked by humanitarian abuse.