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In rare rebuke to Trump, senate votes to block Saudi arms sales

Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, the Senate voted to rein in President Trump’s powers, passing three bipartisan resolutions on Thursday blocking the administration from selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Seven Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, joined all Democrats in voting for the measures blocking against sales to Saudi Arabia, each passing 53-45.

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With 22 separate sales pending, the other 20 resolutions involved arms sales to other allies, including the United Arab Emirates. They were voted on en bloc, whereby four Republicans joined the Democrats in that 51-45 vote.

While sending a strong signal to the administration, all three Senate votes failed to get enough votes to override a pledged veto by the president.

The House must now pass a joint resolution of disapproval, which would then go to the president’s desk. It is also not expected to pass a veto.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., introduced the measures, citing Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been engaged in a multi-year campaign against Houthi rebels, often with disastrous consequences for the civilian population.

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