Trump administration is set to move forward with plans to sell billions of
dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, after the
Republican-controlled Senate on Monday rejected efforts to block the sales by
overriding President Trump's vetoes.
The White House had vowed to use an emergency loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to move ahead unilaterally with sales of billions of dollars in precision-guided munitions, other bombs, ammo and aircraft maintenance support, infuriating lawmakers from both parties. The administration pointed out that this authority has been invoked by past presidents on multiple occasions, including in 1979, 1984, 1990 and 2006.
But, in bipartisan pushback, Democrats and Republicans banded together to pass resolutions blocking the $8.1 billion weapons sales to the US allies in the Arabian Gulf.
Three votes Monday to override Trump's vetoes failed. Each required a two-thirds majority vote.
The attempts to override Trump’s veto commenced in the Senate, which is the congressional body that originated the legislation in question. Successful veto overrides are rare due to the need for a two-thirds majority, and there have only been 111 veto overrides in the history of the United States. The last override was the Senate's 97-1 vote in 2016 to override then-President Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.