US Senate sets vote on Trump's Saudi weapons vetoes

The three resolutions of disapproval are not expected to get the two-thirds majority vote needed to override the vetoes.

    Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince <span>Mohammed bin Salman</span> during family photo session with other leaders and attendees at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]
    Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince <span>Mohammed bin Salman</span> during family photo session with other leaders and attendees at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

    The United States Senate will vote within days on whether to override President Donald Trump's vetoes of legislation to block the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday.

    McConnell said the Senate would hold the vote before August 2, when politicians leave Washington for a five-week-long recess.

    The three resolutions of disapproval are not expected to garner the two-thirds majority in the 100-member Senate needed to override the vetoes, however. Only a handful of Trump's fellow Republicans, who hold 53 seats in the Senate, backed the resolutions when they passed last month.

    The measures would block the sale of Raytheon Co precision-guided munitions and related equipment.

    The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives backed the resolutions last week, largely along party lines, sending them to the White House for Trump's promised veto.

    The Senate passed them - and 19 others that the House has yet to consider - a month earlier.

    Supporters of the resolutions are unhappy with the Trump administration's decision in May to push ahead with more than eight billion dollars in military sales, sidestepping the congressional review process by declaring an "emergency" over tensions with Iran

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    Politicians want Washington to push Riyadh to improve its human rights record and do more to avoid civilian casualties in the Saudi-UAE war in Yemen

    Frustration grew after the murder at a Saudi consulate in Turkey last year of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. According to reports, US intelligence agencies concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder, a conclusion Saudi officials deny.

    Trump wants to retain close ties to Riyadh, which he considers an important partner in the Middle East and counterweight to the influence of Iran. Trump also views foreign military sales as a way to generate US jobs.

    In his veto message, Trump said the resolutions would weaken US competitiveness and damage important relationships.

    SOURCE: Reuters