Senators consider legislation targeted at Saudis
Senators are considering multiple pieces of legislation to formally rebuke Saudi Arabia for the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with momentum building for a resolution to call Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman complicit in the killing.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Thursday that senators are looking at moving three measures – a resolution to condemn the crown prince for Khashoggi’s murder, a bill to suspend arms sales to the kingdom and a resolution to call on President Donald Trump’s administration to pull back U.S. help for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
“We have three different efforts underway, all of which have a lot of momentum,” Corker, R-Tenn., said after meeting with other senators to negotiate Thursday. Corker said that most senators “in some form or fashion are going to want to speak to Saudi Arabia and where they are and send a message.”
It’s unclear how strong that message will be. The Senate is expected to vote next week on the Yemen resolution, but senators are wrestling with how to limit amendments to prevent a freewheeling floor debate that would allow votes on unrelated issues. Corker said the Foreign Relations panel may vote on the other two measures related to Saudi Arabia.
Republican House leaders haven’t indicated they will take up any of the measures, meaning any action by the Senate is likely to be symbolic, for now. Democrats taking over the House in January have introduced bills similar to the Senate legislation and would be more likely to rebuke Saudi Arabia.