Ted Lieu Wants Oversight Over Arms Deal as Saudi Alliance Comes Under Scrutiny
The U.S. arms deal with Saudi Arabia has come under scrutiny since Riyadh stands accused of orchestrating the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Donald Trump has insisted that he would not scrap the mega arms and investment deal, worth $450 billion. Khashoggi’s murder caps years of growing dissatisfaction about the Saudi alliance, and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) wants the House to have more oversight over arms deals. He and Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced the Arms Sale Oversight Act. The measure would align House procedures for reviewing major arms sales with existing Senate procedures under the Arms Export Control Act. The bill makes it possible for any House member to force debate on the House floor in the event that the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) does not debate a contested arms sale. “The Arms Export Control Act is meant to guarantee Congress oversees U.S. arm sales but the current procedures often leave HFAC members in the dark,” Lieu said. “In a time where arms sales with countries like Saudi Arabia are worthy of intense Congressional scrutiny, House Members shouldn’t face roadblocks to doing our jobs. Like our Senate colleagues, we should have the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate and debate arms sales to make sure they’re in our nation’s best interest.” Trump has said he’ll be working on this with Congress but would prefer that “we don’t use as retribution canceling $110 billion worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs.” But here are the actual receipts: The president is incorrect to suggest that he has $110 billion in military orders from Saudi Arabia. A far smaller amount in sales has actually been signed -- $14 billion. And the president’s own State Department has estimated “potentially tens of thousands” of jobs. Not 600,000. More on Lieu’s bill here.