WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to reports that the Trump Administration is considering bypassing Congressional review for proposed arm sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE. There has been a long-standing process in place and in law for decades to ensure that the Congress is able to review and disapprove arms sales to countries about which it has concerns.
“I am deeply concerned about the rumors that the Administration plans to bypass Congress and sell weapons to foreign governments, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world. The possible consequences of this will ultimately jeopardize the ability of the U.S. defense industry to export arms in a manner both expeditious and responsible.
“In addition to suffering the reputational problems of delivering deadly weapons to governments that clearly misuse them, U.S. defense firms should exercise extreme caution that they are not opening themselves, their officers, and their employees to criminal and civil liability by exporting weapons pursuant to potentially invalid licenses.
“I will pursue all appropriate legislative and other means to nullify these and any planned ongoing sales should the Administration move forward in this manner.
“The Congressional review process exists so that the Senate can ask questions about whether a particular arms sale serves our national interests and supports our values, including human rights and civilian protections. I continue to be willing to engage with the administration to get answers to these key questions.”