Trump to Invoke Emergency Authority and Sidestep Congress to Secure Arms Deals With Saudi Arabia

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers Friday that President Trump will invoke emergency authority to complete 22 arms deals—worth about $8 billion—without congressional approval. The move effectively allows the president to complete the sale and transfer of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries without congressional oversight. The sale includes bombs, missile systems, as well as drones. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle fear the arms will be used by Saudi Arabia to fight civilians in Yemen.

Typically, the White House must notify Congress about potential arms sales. However, Pompeo stated in his letter to Congress that he had “determined that an emergency exists which requires the proposed sale in the national security interest of the United States and thus, waives the congressional review requirements.” Pompeo did not specify what the emergency is. “There is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CN). “If we don’t stand up to this abuse of authority, we will permanently box ourselves out of deciding who we should sell weapons to.”