Defying Trump, U.S. senator moves toward vote to block Saudi arms sales


FILE PHOTO – Ranking member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) questions U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Senate foreign Relations Committee hearing on the State Department budget request in Washington, U.S. April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez began the formal process on Tuesday of blocking President Donald Trump’s plan to proceed with more than $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without congressional consent.

In a Senate speech, Menendez asked the Senate to move to immediate consideration of a resolution disapproving the plan to sell precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia.

It was the first of up to 22 such resolutions objecting to the military sales, which were introduced by Democratic and Republican senators last month, after the Trump administration declared an “emergency” because of actions by Iran in order to sidestep the congressional review process and complete the arms deals.

Menendez said Saudi Arabia has used the precision-guided munitions, or PGMs, made by Raytheon Co, “in the killing of untold numbers of innocent civilians in their ongoing campaign in Yemen.”

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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