South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham — a close ally of President Donald Trump — is reportedly ready to yank his emergency power on arms sales.
The startling opposition comes in response to the administration sidestepping Congress to to secure 22 arms sales benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,tThe Washington Post reported.
“Do away with the emergency exception,” Graham urged Wednesday, the Post reported. “I would not have agreed to that before, but after this maneuver by the administration, count me in.”
According to the Post, Graham is among lawmakers mulling how to change the rules governing congressional oversight of arms sales to prevent future end runs around Congress.
The administration had cited an unspecific threat from Iran to expedite more than $8 billion worth of weapons sales, the Post noted.
“We’re talking about a more permanent fix so we can’t have it this way again,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Post reported.
Menendez, Graham and others are expected to ask for a vote on 22 disapproval resolutions aimed at blocking the sales, and a bipartisan majority of senators is expected to support that effort, the news outlet reported.
House Democrats also are expected to pursue a package of disapproval resolutions intended to stymie the deals, the Post reported.
Lawmakers and State Department officials remain at odds over the deals’ legitimacy, and on Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee grilled one of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s top deputies about the emergency declaration.
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., began the hearing with R. Clarke Cooper, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, by accusing the administration of creating a “phony” emergency to justify the sales.
“Here’s the reality: There is no emergency,” Engel said, the Post reported. “It’s made up. And it’s an abuse of the law.”
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