Should Congress Block an Arms Deal Allowing Saudi Arabia to Manufacture Fuzes for Precision Guided Bombs? (S. Joint Res. 38)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is S. Joint Res. 38?
(Updated July 1, 2021)
This resolution would prohibit Saudi Arabia from purchasing services, equipment, and data related to manufacturing fuzing systems for the Paveway IV precision-guided bomb programs in collaboration with the United Kingdom using the authority granted to Congress under the Arms Export Control Act.
As a joint resolution, this legislation would advance to the House if passed by the Senate and would have the force of law if enacted.
Argument in favor
Saudi Arabia has strained its alliance with the U.S. through its indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen, its murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and its repression of human rights domestically. Blocking this and other arms sales will send a message to Saudi Arabia to change its behavior or risk losing the friendship of the U.S.
Saudi Arabia is a key U.S. ally in bringing stability to the Middle East, and while there are obvious tensions and challenges in that alliance that need resolution this bill would unwisely undermine Saudi Arabia’s defense capabilities at a time of heightened aggression from Iran and likely increase civilian casualties in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia; the United Kingdom; U.S. defense contractors; Congress; and the executive branch.
Cost of S. Joint Res. 38
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced this resolution in conjunction with 21 other resolutions to block a total of $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates the Trump administration approved “based on a false emergency and without Congressional consent.” The package cleared the Senate, and several were later passed by the House.
President Donald Trump vetoed this resolution and the other two which reached his desk, saying it undermines the safety of “the more than 80,000 United States citizens who reside in Saudi Arabia who are imperiled from Houthi attacks from Yemen.” In his veto message, Trump added:
“The Houthis, supported by Iran, have attacked civilian and military facilities using missiles, armed drones, and explosive boats, including in areas frequented by United States citizens, such as the airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia... [T]he joint resolution would degrade Saudi Arabia’s military preparedness and ability to defend United States military personnel there…[B]y restricting the ability of our partners to produce and purchase precision-guided munitions, S.J.Res. 38 would likely prolong the conflict in Yemen and deepen the suffering it causes.”
This legislation has the support of seven bipartisan cosponsors, including four Republicans and three Democrats.
Of Note: The Arms Export Control Act requires the administration to notify Congress 30 calendar days before it concludes a foreign military sale to a non-major ally and allows Congress to modify or reject the sale using expedited procedures.
After a disapproval resolution is introduced in the Senate, the Foreign Relations Committee has 10 calendar days to report it, and if no action is taken the lawmaker introducing it can force a floor vote on a motion to discharge the resolution. If it succeeds, the resolution is then considered with overall debate limited to 10 hours. The House doesn’t have a discharge procedure, although the resolution is still given expedited consideration in the chamber.
Sponsoring Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Press Release
Statement of Administration Policy (Opposed)
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force Photo - SSgt. Glenn Lindsey via Wikimedia / Public Domain)
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