Senate Fails to Override Trump’s Veto of Saudi and UAE Defense Sale Bans

The U.S. Senate failed to override President Donald Trump’s vetoes of legislation passed by Congress that would have blocked the sales of certain weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, meaning the transactions may proceed forward.

Supporters of the ban won a voice vote of 45-40 in the Senate, roughly 21 votes short of the 2/3rds majority needed to override a presidential veto. According to Reuters, the vote tallies were similar in the two subsequent roll-call votes (45-39 and 46-41) to override vetoes of legislation blocking additional weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.

President Trump issued a national emergency declaration in order to push through the sale, a rare move for a president. Trump cited the crisis with Iran as reasoning to push the sale forward without congressional authorization. The White House argued that stopping the sales would send a signal that the United States doesn’t stand by its partners and allies, particularly at a time when threats from hostile countries such as Iran are increasing.

Trump suggested that barring the sale could prolong the conflict in Yemen and that “without precision-guided munitions, more – not fewer – civilians are likely to become casualties.”