Trump to sell arms to the Saudis without Congressional approval

Posted May 25, 2019 by Ken Hanly
In a move that some members of the US Congress had predicted earlier this week, President Trump has declared a national emergency in order to circumvent Congressional restrictions on arms sales and quickly ship arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
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Congressional rules about arms shipments
The Arms Export Control Act, requires that the Congress receive 30 days notice before any arms sales. Congress then can block shipments should it think they should not go to the country. The Congress had already passed a motion to end US involvement in the Yemen war but Trump vetoed it. Trump described the resolution as an "unnecessary" and "dangerous" attempt to weaken his constitutional powers.
With this attitude towards the Yemen war there would likely be strong efforts in Congress to block Trumps sales to the Saudis and UAE. However, the law has a loophole that allows Trump to declare an emergency, with no oversight on that, and then send the arms without the Congress being notified or needing to approve the sale.
Trump move was expected by some
Several senators thought that Trump would use this provision as early as next week. However, Trump already announced on Friday, before the holiday weekend he was declaring an emergency and selling arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE without going through Congress. The national emergency is tensions with Iraq. Some member of Congress note that tensions with Iraq have been going on for ages and there is no special emergency now.
There is no emergency Senator Murphy claims
Senator Chris Murphy a Democrat from Connecticut had warned several days back that Trump would try to circumvent Congress. He said that Trump is using the loophole because he is well aware he would not be able to sell weapons to the Saudis any other way. On Friday, Murphy said: "There is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there.”
US Congress should have a role in arms sales
Jeff Abramson, a senior fellow at the Arms Control that the US Congress should be able to limit arms sales to foreign countries: “There’s a reason why the arms trade has a process where congressional involvement is mandated. It’s exceedingly dangerous because these are life-and-death materials. It’s good if there’s a check and balance system.”