Home/Daniel Larison/The House Fights Back Against the Bogus ‘Emergency’

The House Fights Back Against the Bogus ‘Emergency’

The House is fighting back against Trump’s bogus arms sales “emergency”:

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are expected to unveil four resolutions of disapproval Wednesday, each designed to push back on elements of President Trump’s plan to conclude the arms deals via an emergency executive order. One resolution aims to block all 22 deals, while the other three specifically address the sale and production of precision-guided munitions to and within Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Many lawmakers oppose the proposed sales, particularly those that benefit Saudi Arabia, a country to which bipartisan majorities in Congress have sought to restrict arms transfers and military aid over the kingdom’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war and its leaders’ suspected role in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But still more lawmakers have bristled at the administration’s tactic of claiming a blanket, nonspecific emergency to justify the move, objecting to it as an executive power grab of Congress’s traditional right to raise objections to such transactions.

The House should approve all of these resolutions of disapproval. Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE while they slaughter Yemeni civilians with those same weapons is abhorrent, and it has to be stopped. It is the right thing to do as a matter of policy, and it is also important for Congress to stand up to the president’s abuse of power by rejecting the phony “emergency” that the administration is using to evade Congressional review. The U.S. shouldn’t be arming war criminals, and it should never have been involved in the war on Yemen. Members of Congress need to make it clear that they won’t tolerate the president’s efforts to circumvent Congress to continue fueling a war that has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The Foreign Affairs Committee is also holding hearings on the so-called “emergency” today:

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to demand a reckoning from a senior State Department official Wednesday over the Trump administration’s decision to push through 22 arms sales, mostly benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, over congressional objections.

The hearing, which will feature R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, as its only witness, is the House’s first official action to scrutinize and condemn the administration’s emergency declaration, which enabled the move. Members are expected to follow up on the hearing by pursuing a set of disapproval resolutions to try to block the arms deals from going forward.

The chairman of the committee is not buying the administration’s claim that there is an “emergency”:

Like other “emergencies” the president has declared to get around Congress, this “emergency” doesn’t exist and has been cooked up to keep funneling weapons that we know will be used in the murder of innocent civilians in Yemen. It is an outrage and it should not be allowed to stand.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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