Senate Opposition to Sale of Precision-guided Munitions Grows

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is the latest U.S. senator to throw support behind a Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken)-led push to block part of President Trump’s $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

The senators who proposed the resolution to block the arms sale said that they expect a close vote. Sen. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Schumer, and Paul’s resolution focused solely on the munitions sale, which is a relatively small part of the entire arms deal.

Sen. Paul, who today published an op-ed for Fox News decrying President Trump’s arms sale, vowed to continue to build a bipartisan coalition to block parts of the deal. Paul said that the sales were a threat to “our ally in the region – Israel.”

“The United States must also take into full consideration whether providing more arms to Saudi Arabia is beneficial to our ally in the region – Israel. It would seem counterproductive to provide weapons that might someday be used against Israel,” Sen. Paul wrote. “If the past is any indication, any time we sell weapons to an adversary of Israel, the Israelis are forced to purchase more and newer weapons which only escalates an arms race in the Middle East.”

Senator Schumer pointed to human rights, humanitarian concerns, and alleged terrorist financing by Saudi Arabia. “[T]he Saudi government continues to aid and abet terrorism via its relationship with Wahhabism and the funding of schools that spread extremist propaganda throughout the world,” Schumer said in a statement.

According to the Hill, Schumer’s backing “is a boon for supporters of the new resolution,” having previously voted to set aside a similar resolution in 2016.