US House rejects Saudi weapons sales; Trump to veto

House votes to block Trump administration's weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amid veto threat

The House is passing a series of measures to block weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Such a veto is likely to rile up more Congressional action, however, as President Trump's very public desire to protect U.S. arms sales, even after the Saudi murder of Jamal Khashoggi, has been viewed as distasteful by many.

House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said on the House floor Wednesday that lawmakers are focused on these specific weapons because they would be the first shipped and said they risk being used against civilians by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Just four Republicans supported the measures, which would bar the sale of more than $8 billion of Raytheon precision-guided weapons systems.

The White House had reportedly planned to veto congressional efforts to block arms sale, and neither chamber is expected to gain the two-thirds votes necessary to override the vetoes. Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Alex Mooney (W.Va.), plus newly independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) - joined Democrats to pass the resolutions, which the Senate approved last month.

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While the US Congress can not override Trump's veto, it reflects the differing takes on Saudi Arabia which are held by the legislature and the executive in the United States.

"Iran is stretching its tentacles of terror across the Middle East", he said in a statement.

But Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the resolutions as "dangerous" at a time Iran is expanding its reach.

The troops will go to the Prince Sultan Air Base, east of Riyadh, CNN reported, citing two officials at the Defense Department.

"Iran and the forces it supports ... are a threat to our national security and the security of our allies", he said.

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