Senate approves Saudi Arabia’s $650 million arms sale

WASHINGTON, DC - August 6: The United States Capitol is seen on August 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Negotiations between US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) for the package New COVID-19 relief is expected to resume today. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – August 06: The US Capitol is seen on August 6, 2020 in Washington, DC (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

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UPDATE 5:31 PM PT – Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A bipartisan effort in the Senate failed to block further arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

In a vote of 30 to 67, the proposal failed to gain the simple majority needed to block the sale of $650 million to the kingdom. The effort to stem the sales was led by Mike Lee (R) of Utah, Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky and Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont.

The senators argued that Saudi Arabia should not be rewarded for its invasions in Yemen and attacks on its own people with more weapons from the US.

“As the Saudi government continues to wage its devastating war in Yemen and oppress its people, we should not reward them with more arms sales,” Sanders said.

Senate leaders from both parties disagreed with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying the body should be wary of turning its back on longtime allies. Meanwhile, Democrats remained divided on the vote, while Paul and Lee were the only GOP members to back the bloc.

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