Senate folds to Trump's vetoes, permits Saudi arms deals

By Darryl Coote

July 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate failed to override President Donald Trump's veto on three resolutions against arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Senators voted 45-40, 45-39 and 46-41 on Monday in support of nullifying the president's executive moves. However, a two-thirds majority was needed to override the president.


Last week, Trump vetoed the resolutions, which the Senate passed June 20 to halt the pending $8.1 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries in response to the Saudis' role in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the war in Yemen and the Trump administration not seeking congressional approval for the deal in the first place.

Trump had issued an emergency provision in late May to sidestep Congress to make the deal, citing multinational military cooperation and tensions with Iran.

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Last Wednesday, Trump said that the resolution preventing U.S. allies from buying and producing precision-guided munitions would likely prolong the Yemen conflict.

"This resolution would weaken America's global competitiveness and damage the important relationships we share with our allies and partners," he said in a statement.


Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., urged the Senate to vote in favor of overriding the president's vetoes, stating the Trump administration had failed to detail what threat Iran posed to national security.

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"Iran has and will continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests and allies in the region and I have and will continue to approve arms sales to partners and allies that address legitimate security threats and advance American interests," he said. "But from the start, this administration has failed to demonstrate what kind of national security threat or 'emergency' from Iran warranted fast-tracking the sale of these weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE."

In early May, the Senate failed to block Trump's veto to end the United State's involvement with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Fewer than 10 percent of all presidential vetoes have been overridden by Congress, according to the U.S. Senate.

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