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House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis

House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis
© Greg Nash

House Democrats on Friday introduced resolutions opposing the Trump administration’s sale of millions of dollars of precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksMenendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill Lawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office Hillicon Valley: Robinhood raises .4 billion over weekend after GameStop fury | New State Dept. cyber bureau stirs concern | Intel agency warns of threats from China collecting sensitive US health data MORE (D-N.Y.), the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced measures expressing congressional opposition to the sale over the kingdom’s role in Yemen’s brutal civil war, which has sparked the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history.

“There is no justification for the Trump administration’s decision to rush through the sale of thousands of bombs to Saudi Arabia—especially after last year’s sham ‘emergency’ sale of 60,000 munitions,” Meeks said in a statement, referencing a 2019 “emergency” arms sale to the Saudis that Democrats allege circumvented congressional oversight.

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“Yemen has already been described by the UN as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, and that crisis is worsened when weapons sold by the United States are being used recklessly, costing the lives of civilians," he added. "I strongly support the incoming Biden administration's pledge to conduct a thorough policy review.”

The resolutions of disapproval were co-sponsored by Reps. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchEthics watchdog: 'Substantial' evidence GOP lawmaker improperly spent funds, misused position to help brother Three years later, father of Parkland shooting victim calls for meaningful school safety reform LIVE COVERAGE: House debates removing Greene from committees MORE (D-Fla.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuPelosi, lawmakers denounce violence against Asian Americans Riot probe to likely focus on McCarthy-Trump call Progressives urge Biden pick for attorney general to prosecute Trump MORE (D-Calif.), Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaTexas power grid CEO fired in wake of massive storm outages How to create the next 10 great American tech clusters OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior reverses Trump policy that it says restricted science | Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination | Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy MORE (D-Calif.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeePro-Choice Caucus asks Biden to remove abortion fund restrictions from 2022 budget Progressives push White House to overturn wage ruling Lawmakers, Martin Luther King III discuss federal responses to systematic racism MORE (D-Calif.) and James McGovernJames (Jim) Patrick McGovernJournalism watchdog files criminal complaint against Saudi crown prince Democrats call for relief package to waive taxes on unemployment benefits Biden urged to reverse Pompeo-Trump move on Houthis MORE (D-Mass.).

The Trump administration most recently approved a $290 million sale to Riyadh for 3,000 Boeing-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) munitions and related equipment. The approval followed another greenlight for Raytheon to directly sell Saudi Arabia 7,500 of its Paveway air-to-ground “smart” bombs at an estimated value of $478 million. 

The government’s notice on Dec. 29 of the $290 million sale started a 30-day countdown during which lawmakers can block the sale if they choose to, setting the deadline in the early days of the upcoming Biden administration. President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE has said he will conduct an overview of Washington’s relationship with Riyadh, which has come under scrutiny.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia in particular has been a point of contention between the White House and lawmakers of both parties who have been increasingly vocal in their opposition to arming Riyadh.

Thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen’s civil war, which is largely being waged by Saudi Arabia and its proxy forces against Houthi rebels, and lawmakers remain disgruntled over the Saudi-sanctioned killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 in Turkey.

However, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE has brushed off criticism from Congress, arguing that arming Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states is a key part of his plan to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East.