Politics

Schumer To Block Trump Arms Sale To Saudis, Despite Backing Arms Deal Under Obama

New York. / AFP / Bryan R. Smith

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that he intends to vote against President Donald Trump’s $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, despite backing a similar Obama administration arms deal.

Later this week, the Senate is set to vote on a resolution expressing disapproval of the $110 billion arms deal that Trump brokered with Saudi Arabia during his recent trip to Riyadh.

“The human rights and humanitarian concerns have been well documented and are important: of equal concern to me is that the 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 Monday, according to The Hill.

The senators who forwarded the resolution, GOP Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Al Franken, believe that the arms deal will further exacerbate the war in Yemen.

In 2016, Paul and Murphy attempted a similar resolution to block an Obama administration deal amounting to $1.15 billion in arms, though the effort died by a 71-27 vote.

At the time, Schumer voted to block the resolution.

It seems he’s now come around to the idea that blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia is important to stop the spread of terrorism and prevent the war in Yemen from spiraling even further out of control, which sounds similar to what Paul said in 2016.

“We are complicit and actively involved with war in Yemen,” Paul said in September 2016. “There’s been no debate in Congress, really no debate in the public sphere, over whether or not we should be at war in Yemen. “We are currently doing inflight refueling of bombers, Saudi Arabian bombers that are bombing in Yemen. We are helping to select sites and we actually have had Special Forces involved in these decisions in the theatre as well.”

GOP senators active in foreign policy have largely agreed with the arms sale, particularly GOP Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who believe that Saudi Arabia represents an effect counter to Iran.

Schumer’s backing of the resolution this time around will likely give it a strong boost, although the resolution is ultimately expected to fail.

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