Sen. Mike Lee is co-sponsoring 22 separate resolutions aiming to block President Donald Trump’s use of emergency powers to push through an arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
The 22 resolutions of disapproval, one for each separate part of an $8.1 billion weapons package to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, are an effort to force a floor vote on the deal. President Trump declared an emergency last month in order to go around Congress to complete the sale.
Lee told UtahPolicy.com in an email statement he’s co-sponsoring the effort because the emergency declaration improperly usurps Congresses’ traditional role.
“Circumventing Congress to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE without following the standard statutory procedure undermines Congress’s role in conducting oversight of the arms sales process and ignores the rule of law,” said Lee. “This rarely used emergency loophole highlights the unfortunate reality that Congress has ceded too much authority to the executive branch. Furthermore, these arms sales will support Saudi Arabia and the UAE waging war in Yemen, even though it is long past time that we end U.S. involvement in this unauthorized, unjustified, and immoral war that has caused immense human suffering.”
Lee is the fourth Republican to sign on to the effort, which is spearheaded by New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez. The other Republicans who are cosponsoring the resolutions are Sens. Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Todd Young.
If the resolutions pass the Senate, they will be sent to the Democratic-controlled House for a vote, where they will most likely pass. In that event, President Trump is expected to veto the resolutions. It’s not clear that there’s enough support in Congress to override Trump’s veto.