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US Senate fails to override Trump veto of bill stopping Saudi weapons sales

File photo: US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Washington Jul 30, 2019, 06.39 AM (IST)

The US Senate on Monday failed to override President Donald Trump`s veto of legislation passed by Congress that would have blocked the sale of certain weapons to Saudi Arabia.

By a vote of 45-40, the Senate fell short of the two-thirds votes needed to overturn a presidential veto. Five of the chamber`s 53 Republicans voted to override the Republican president. Fifteen senators did not vote. 

The Senate was also set to vote on Monday on two more veto overrides of legislation blocking weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.

In May, the Trump administration announced that it would go ahead with more than $8 billion in military sales, sidestepping a congressional review process. 

The legislation would have blocked the sale of Raytheon Co precision-guided munitions and related equipment.

Congress` effort was aimed at attempting to pressure the Saudi government to improve its human rights record and to do more to avoid civilian casualties in a war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and the UAE lead an air campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Congressional sentiment toward Saudi Arabia worsened after the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident, at a Saudi consulate in Turkey last year.

Trump has argued that cutting off the Saudi weapons sales would weaken US relations with a longtime ally and hurt US competitiveness. 

Story highlights

By a vote of 45-40, the Senate fell short of the two-thirds votes needed to overturn a presidential veto. Five of the chamber`s 53 Republicans voted to override the Republican president. Fifteen senators did not vote