June 5, 2019

Young and Colleagues Introducing 22 Joint Resolutions to Block Weapons Sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE without Congressional Approval

WASHINGTONU.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to announce they are introducing 22 separate Joint Resolutions of Disapproval to protect and reaffirm Congress’ role of approving arms sales to foreign governments. Today’s introductions come after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared an emergency on May 24 to waive the congressional review process for 22 separate arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE – a total of $8.1 billion. 

Arguing there is an increased threat from Iran, the Trump Administration invoked authorities under the Arms Export Control Act that, in certain circumstances, grant the President exceptional emergency authority to waive the statutorily-required congressional review period for arms sales. The manner in which the Administration has moved forward with these sales is unprecedented and is at odds with longstanding practice and cooperation between the Congress and the executive branch that results in the approval of billions of dollars of arms sales annually. 

“Congress has an essential oversight role in the decision to sell weapons and we must ensure proper procedures are in place in any weapons transfer,” said Senator Young.“In light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, we have an obligation to ensure the adequate guardrails are in place and that weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates do not exacerbate the conflict. Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, but the current threats that have been briefed to members of Congress do not justify taking this dramatic step. The aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, is deployed to the Gulf and I am confident that the members of our military could respond if a threat were to arise.”

The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 provides the special procedures whereby lawmakers can introduce a privileged joint resolution of disapproval against a proposed arm sale. In the Senate, a resolution can be discharged from the Committee of jurisdiction, forcing a vote on the Senate floor.