Democrats: Censure Schumer; GOP: Oppose Dept of State and DOD; Conflict Continues In Yemen

The U.S. Senate on Monday rejected a bipartisan bid to stop the sale of up to $650 million in U.S.-made arms to Saudi Arabia, even as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said…

Democrats: Censure Schumer; GOP: Oppose Dept of State and DOD; Conflict Continues In Yemen

The U.S. Senate on Monday rejected a bipartisan bid to stop the sale of up to $650 million in U.S.-made arms to Saudi Arabia, even as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said the assault on Yemen was a humanitarian crisis that was largely being ignored.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen are “an indiscriminate and dangerous tactic” and called for a halt in the sale of arms.

“We should pause and think about whether the United States is being right and whether it would be right to deliver arms that could lead to further deaths of children and women, and to the disappearance of aid workers who are trying to provide relief to the Yemeni people,” he said.

The vote was 53-46 in favor of a resolution to block the sale, with 47 senators opposed and five undecided. Sixty votes were needed to advance the resolution.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) also suggested the Saudis are not being transparent about their actions in Yemen, saying in a statement, “I do not believe we can send arms to Saudi Arabia or any other country and expect them to abide by international humanitarian law. What happened in Yemen has been ongoing and unacceptable for far too long, and now that the Saudis have officially caused an additional 100,000 people to go without food and medicine and up to 1 million to be infected with cholera, it is time for the United States to step up and help save lives.”

At least 10,000 Yemenis have been killed as a result of the Saudi-led strikes and more than 2 million Yemenis have been reported to have contracted cholera since the beginning of the year.

On Monday, however, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) touted his own initiative that would allow the U.S. to send aid to the effort without being tied to the sale of U.S.-made equipment.

Senator Rand Paul introduces bipartisan bill to allow US to send humanitarian aid to Yemen without a suspension of arms sales. https://t.co/JCO03F1UOd pic.twitter.com/zrB7cXAbqt — Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 9, 2018

The measure, which was passed in the Senate by a voice vote Monday afternoon, would shift the contractual obligation for any future arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other recipients of U.S. military support to restrict the recipients to receiving only humanitarian relief instead of military supplies.

Sen. Paul said he introduced the “humanitarian restraint” legislation because the United States cannot be in two places at once: providing arms to Saudi Arabia and addressing the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.

“ISIS is killing as many Sunnis as the Shiites and that has nothing to do with a lack of weapons, because ISIS is getting arms from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. You just can’t play both sides of this game and then call it a humanitarian crisis,” Paul said, noting that Saudi Arabia has increasingly taken over humanitarian deliveries to Yemen in the past few years.

The measure will go before the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. The Senate also plans to hold a hearing on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has been marred by the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo is expected to address his briefing with lawmakers on Saudi Arabia.

Bret Baier is a Fox News Channel anchor and reporter. Follow Bret on Twitter: @BretBaier.

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