Last Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he intends to support a Senate motion, moved to block President Trump’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The deal between the two countries was signed last month, during Trump’s visit to the Middle Eastern Islamic Republic.
However, it is to be noted, Schumer, who is one of Trump’s most vocal opponents in the government, had a significantly different stance to remarkably similar motion last year, when a group of senators tried to block former President Barack Obama’s arms deal with the Saudis.
In his statement on Monday, Schumer said that he is concerned about the impact on the already worsening humanitarian crisis in the region, the sale of $500 million worth of precision guided missiles will have.
“I will support Sen. [Chris] Murphy’s resolution of disapproval. The human rights and humanitarian concerns have been well documented and are important,” Schumer told the Huffington Post.
“Of equal concern to me is that the Saudi government continues to aid and abet terrorism via its relationship with Wahhabism and the funding of schools that spread extremist propaganda throughout the world,” he explained.
The effort to move the motion to block Trump’s arms deal is a bipartisan one, led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
This group of senators is of the belief that an arms deal with Saudi Arabia could aggravate the already worsening problems of the region, including the civil war in Yemen, where the government of Saudi Arabia is vehemently supporting the ousted government. The senators believe that the current humanitarian crisis could seriously worsen with American weapons.
This isn’t, however, the first time a group of senators have tried to stop the sale of American arms and ammunitions to Saudi.
Last year, a $1.15 billion deal to sell arms to the Saudis, approved by the Obama administration, was successfully blocked by the Senate. However, at that time, it was noted that Schumer had voted against the rejection of Obama’s deal.
Even though the humanitarian issues remain, no one can tell why Schumer has changed his decision suddenly to block the arms deal that he was supporting last year under Obama.
The effort to block the deal, even with Schumer’s deal, is expected to fail. However, Politico expects the effort to receive support from a handful of Republicans and a large majority of Democrats.