Trump vetoes Senate to push through $8B in Saudi arms sales

President Donald Trump has vetoed a trio of resolutions aimed at blocking his deal with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The action is the third time Trump has vetoed a congressional measure.

“This resolution would weaken America’s global competitiveness and damage the important relationships we share with our allies and partners,” Trump said in his veto messages Wednesday.

Last month, the Senate passed 22 resolutions designed to halt the administration’s pending sale of $8.1 billion in arms. Senators cited Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the war in Yemen and the administration not seeking congressional approval for the transaction as their reasons. RELATED U.S. Air Force expands operating base in Saudi Arabia

The sales would include mortar bombs, missiles, drones, repair and maintenance services, and precision-guided munitions. Trump approved the sales under the Arms Export Control Act, which typically requires congressional review.

“The United States is very concerned about the conflict’s toll on innocent civilians and is working to bring the conflict in Yemen to an end,” Trump added.

“But we cannot end it through ill-conceived and time-consuming resolutions that fail to address its root causes. Rather than expend time and resources on such resolutions, I encourage the Congress to direct its efforts toward supporting our work to achieve peace through a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Yemen.” RELATED Lockheed awarded $1.4B contract for Saudi THAAD system

The Senate would need 67 votes to override Trump’s veto.

“I condemn the president’s decision and I’ll continue using every tool at my disposal to bring accountability to his foreign policy, including closing the loopholes that led to this arms sale fiasco in the first place,” Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., tweeted.

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