WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke on the Senate Floor this afternoon to announce he had reached a Unanimous Consent agreement with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that will provide for votes tomorrow on his 22 joint resolutions of disapproval to block the Trump Administration’s unprecedented attempt at approving over $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi and UAE based on a false emergency and without Congressional consent.
Additionally, Menendez announced he had secured agreement from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Risch to take up Menendez’ bipartisan Saudi Arabia False Emergencies (SAFE) act, which will prospectively eliminate the President’s ability to act in this irresponsible and legally dubious manner going forward, as well as a committee markup on Yemen and Saudi Arabia in which Menendez’ bipartisan Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act will receive a vote.
Below are the Senators remarks as delivered:
“Mr. President, I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to work out an agreement on unanimous consent that will provide for votes on these 22 joint resolutions of disapproval over the Administration’s proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“I want to thank the bipartisan group of cosponsors of these resolutions, the Majority leader, and our staffs for diligently working through this unprecedented process.
“I would also like to engage the Chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee Senator Risch in a brief colloquy and thank him for agreeing to quickly take up two priority pieces of legislation.
“Earlier this year, I led a bipartisan group of Senators, including a number on the Foreign Relations Committee, in reintroducing legislation to hold Saudi Arabia Accountable for its devastating actions in Yemen, gross human rights abuses and the murder of American resident Jamal Khashoggi. I understand that the Chairman has also been working on legislation, and we have agreed to use his legislation as a base text to which we will be able to offer amendments that reflect the bipartisan consensus contained in my bill, the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act.
“Additionally, he has agreed to a markup of the SAFE Act—which I believe will take place at a business meeting next week—and which prospectively eliminates the ability of the President to use emergency authority to sell arms to any country that is not a NATO plus 5 member.
“Mr. President, these votes could not be more important, and I am happy to yield to the chairman.”