The US Senate on Thursday voted to block the sale of billions of dollars in military sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries, rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to sidestep Congress’ review of such deals by declaring an emergency over Iran.
Trump has promised to veto the Senate action in order to proceed with the deals, worth some $8.1 billion. Senators would need 67 votes to override his veto, which looked unlikely after Thursday’s votes.
The bi-partisan backers of the resolutions said they sent a bipartisan message to Saudi Arabia that Washington is not happy about human rights abuses, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey and about the war in Yemen.
Despite Trump’s veto threat, members of Congress said they expect some Saudi-related legislation would come into effect this year.
Lawmakers are working on a separate measure “to hold Saudi Arabia accountable” for human rights abuses and Khashoggi’s murder. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is due to consider as soon as next week legislation that would take away the ability of Trump, or any president, to use emergency authority to sell arms to any country besides Nato members and certain other key partners without congressional review.