Senate fails to override Trump’s veto on arms sales to Saudis

The US Senate on Monday failed to override President Donald Trump’s vetoes of resolutions blocking his arms deal with Saudi Arabia, The Hill reported.

Senators voted 45-40 on the first of three veto override attempts, falling well short of the two-thirds majority needed to nix Trump’s veto. GOP Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Todd Young (IN) voted with Democrats to override.

The Senate will hold two more override attempts related to the arms deal on Monday evening.

The vote came after Trump vetoed the arms sale resolutions last week, arguing that the congressional effort “would weaken America’s global competitiveness and damage the important relationships we share with our allies and partners.”

Trump in June publicly announced the arms deal, estimated to be worth more than $8 billion, using an “emergency” provision in the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) to bypass the 30-day congressional notification requirement.

The administration has argued the emergency declaration was justified based on what they described as heightened threats from Iran and said that a better use of Congress’s time would be to try to help negotiate an end to the years-long Yemen civil war.

In April, Trump vetoed a measure that would have cut off US military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war.

Some US lawmakers are dissatisfied with Trump’s support for Saudi Arabia, particularly since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

Saudi Arabia has admitted that Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, after previously denying Turkish claims that he was murdered. At the same time, the Saudi leadership claimed Khashoggi was killed in a “rogue” operation and denies any connection to the murder.

US lawmakers have called for a stronger US response to Khashoggi’s murder and said that there was “zero question” about the involvement of the Saudi Crown Prince, of whom Khashoggi was a strong critic.

The 22 arms sales would provide weapons to Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The vetoes on the arms deal are the third, fourth and fifth Trump has had to issue since the beginning of his administration. All of his five vetoes have taken place this year.

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