A group of four United States senators, lead by Rand Paul and Mike Lee, have introduced a bill to block the sale of $1.15 billion of arms to Saudi Arabia. The bipartisan bill is also supported by Democrat senators, including Al Franken and Chris Murphy.
The House of Representatives sent a letter to President Barack Obama in August to urge the president to delay the sale. A total of 64 members signed the letter.
The State Department approved the $1.15 billion sale on August 9, followed by an announcement by the Pentagon. The sale includes 20 armored recovery vehicles and 130 Abrams battle tanks, among a long list of arms.
Senators opposing the sale cited the conflict in Yemen that is led by the Saudi Arabia funded coalition and human rights concerns as reason for the proposal to block the sale of weapons. Saudi Arabia has been criticized for the death of civilians through air strikes.
Murphy stated, “Thousands of civilians are being killed, and terrorist groups inside the country, like al Qaeda and ISIS, are getting stronger. Until the Saudis conduct changes, the U.S. should put a pause on further arms sales.”
Human activist groups have applauded the proposal to block the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. The group will utilize the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 to be able to force a vote on the sale.