This post, written by Ari Berman, originally appeared on The Nation
At least one high-profile presidential candidate has come out against the Bush Administration’s proposed $20 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
“Congress needs to stand firm against the president,” John Edwards said in a press release this week. “The administration’s proposed arms deal with Saudi Arabia isn’t in the long-term interests of our country or the region. This deal has serious shortcomings–it doesn’t force Saudi Arabia to stop terrorists from going into Iraq, make a real effort to help stabilize Iraq, lead regional security talks or assure the arms will not be used for offensive purposes. Congress should do the right thing and block the deal.”
A group of Democrats in the House are preparing to introduce legislation to block the deal “the minute Congress is officially notified,” according to Reps. Jerry Nadler and Anthony Weiner. Democrats picked up their first GOP co-sponsor when New Jersey Republican Mike Ferguson announced his opposition to the deal on Tuesday.
“I am deeply disappointed with the Bush Administration’s decision to begin negotiations with Saudi Arabia on a $20 billion arms package of advanced weaponry,” Ferguson said at a press conference, “and it is our hope that Congress will take every step necessary to block this transaction.”
The deal has members of both parties scratching theirs heads. If Dubai wasn’t fit to run our ports, they reason, why should the Kingdom of Saud get our arms?
[UPDATE: 114 members of the House, including 16 Republicans, sent a letter to President Bush this afternoon stating their “deep opposition” to the arms deal and vowing “to vote to stop it.”]
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