White House May Face Battle with Congress Over Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

On November 19, 2007, the World Tribunereported that President Bush may be facing the first battle over Congressional approval for a proposed $20 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 17 years. The arms sale includes missiles, munitions, air defense systems, advanced satellite-guided bombs, upgrades to fighters, and new naval vessels, which has made Israel and some of its supporters in Congress nervous. The New York Times reported on the initial proposed sale in July 2007 here.

World Tribune reports that while the Administration believes they have the support needed in Congress to approve this sale, others believe opposition is growing both publicly and privately. If a battle ensues over the proposed sale, it would mark the first fight between Congress and the White House over an arms sale to Saudi Arabia since 1990 when the House persuaded the administration of then President George H. W. Bush to reduce the $20 billion defense package to $7.3 billion and remove the airborne early warning and control aircraft and the KE-3 tanker aircraft.

Officials of the Bush Administration say that the proposed sale would be formally relayed to Congress soon while prenotification of the sale was given to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on November 13, 2007. The article states: 

 

"People of all political stripes have come out against this deal," Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat said. "It's mind-bogglingly bad policy because the Saudi's at every turn have been uncooperative. The idea that we are going to reward the Saudi's with precision weaponry is a stunningly bad idea, and clearly deserves the full review of Congress."