- The Washington Times - Friday, May 24, 2019

The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are planning to introduce legislation to block the Trump administration from bypassing Congress to make an arms deal with Saudi Arabia through an emergency declaration.

Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, announced Thursday night he is working with Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the panel’s top Republican, to “ensure that Congress plays its rightful role ensuring that arms sales are prudent and consistent with U.S. law and protection of civilians.”

They join a growing list of lawmakers who have publicly opposed the administration’s end-run around Congress, including Sens. Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, and Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat.

A decision by the White House to skip a congressional review process for the proposed sale by invoking a national security waiver in the Arms Export Control Act could be made as early as Friday, the Associated Press reported.

“The administration’s reported decision to force through weapons sales is yet another slap in Congress’s face,” Mr. Engel said in a statement. “…The notion that there’s an emergency that justifies upending our checks and balances is false, plain and simple.”

Lawmaker opposition to arms control sales to Saudi Arabia has expanded since Congress restricted roughly $2 billion worth of weapons over concerns the kingdom was using them in the ongoing military campaign in Yemen and in response to the murder of U.S.-based dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This week, Mr. Murphy tweeted that under Mr. Trump’s claim of an emergency, the sale would go through automatically and that he may cite heightening tensions with Iran in an emergency declaration to push the sale through.

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