A group of senators is planning to force a vote this month to block a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDemocrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' MORE (R-Ky.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyExpats plead with US to deliver COVID-19 vaccines Growing number of Democrats endorse abolishing debt limit altogether Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase MORE (D-Conn.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Andrew Cuomo and the death of shame MORE (D-Minn.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeRetreating economy creates new hurdle for Democrats in 2022 McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' Senate locks in deal to vote on debt ceiling hike Thursday MORE (R-Utah) introduced a joint resolution of disapproval on Thursday that, if passed, would undercut a planned sale of tanks and related equipment.
Paul said in a statement that selling the military equipment to Saudi Arabia "is a recipe for disaster and an escalation of an ongoing arms race in the region."
Senators are using a little-known loophole in the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) to bring the resolution to the floor.
Under the AECA, senators have to give a Senate committee 10 calendar days to take up the resolution before they can bring it back to the Senate floor. Under that timeline, the earliest the senators could force a vote is Sept. 19.
The State Department approved the sale last month. A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Houthis, Iran-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen, but lawmakers are concerned the equipment will be used in missions that kill civilians and worsen the country's humanitarian crisis.
Murphy added that the war in Yemen "has become a disaster that is making our country less safe every day."
“Thousands of civilians are being killed, and terrorist groups inside the country, like al Qaeda and [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria], are getting stronger. Until the Saudis conduct changes, the U.S. should put a pause on further arms sales," he said.
Thursday's resolution comes after 64 House lawmakers sent a resolution to President Obama last month asking that he delay the sale. Murphy and Paul also introduced an amendment to an annual defense policy bill to bolster congressional oversight of military sales to Saudi Arabia.
Also this week, the House is set to vote on another controversial measure involving Saudi Arabia. It would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue the country's leaders.