I need you to make a plan to call your Senators at 1-855-68-NO-WAR. [1-855-686-6927].
With the Senate, it’s always hard to know for sure when a vote will be. We now believe that a Senate vote on Trump’s Saudi arms deal is expected by Tuesday afternoon.
This isn’t just about an arms deal. This vote is a Senate referendum on U.S. participation in the Saudi-UAE war and blockade on Yemen, which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, with millions of human beings at risk of starvation.
This is a big deal. As Kate Gould of FCNL says, the most precious commodity in Washington is floor time in Congress. A consequential floor debate on war and peace is a once-in-a-blue-moon thing. By “consequential floor debate,” I mean one that is followed by a floor vote. When they talk about war and peace, Members of Congress love to say things like “the President doesn’t have a strategy,” which sounds critical but doesn’t commit them to anything. But when they are forced to vote, Members have to publicly choose sides between less war and more war.
If your schedule permits it, the best time to call your Senators would be first thing Monday morning, soon after Senate offices open around 9AM ET. Make an appointment with yourself to call however you make such appointments – Google calendar, iPhone alarm, post-it note, string around your finger. When you make your call Monday morning, refer back to this email.
But if you can’t call Monday morning, call your Senators now and try to leave a message.
When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:
“Save Yemen from Saudi-imposed famine. Vote to support the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump’s Saudi arms deal. Make a public statement on how you’ll vote.”
[Who you don’t need to bother: Sens. Paul, Murphy, Franken, Merkley, and Cardin, because they’ve publicly committed to voting against the deal.]
When you’ve made your calls, please report them here.
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More background on Saudi Arabia
Read Saudi Arabia is destabilizing the world by Stephen Kinzer, about that monarchy’s spread of a militant, extremist form of Islam to Indonesia and the consequences for that nation.
The Paul Murphy Franken resolution press release:
Sens. Paul, Murphy, and Franken Demand Senate Vote on Proposed Weapons Sale to Saudi Arabia
May 25, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a joint resolution of disapproval to force the U.S. Senate to vote on a resolution blocking a portion of new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in support of their military campaign in Yemen. The senators’ resolution comes after the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee received official notice of pending sales of offensive weapons, including precision-guided munitions, last Friday.
The newly noticed sale is part of a broader arms agreement that commits the U.S. to nearly $110 billion in immediate defense equipment sales and training and up to $350 billion over 10 years.
“It is time we pause and consider the repercussions before we continue to fuel arms races around the world,” said Sen. Paul. “Given Saudi Arabia’s past support of terror, poor human rights record, and questionable tactics in its war in Yemen, Congress must carefully consider and thoroughly debate if selling them billions of dollars of arms is in our best national security interest at this time.”
“Thousands of civilians are being killed in the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen while terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS are getting stronger by the day. Selling the Saudis precision-guided munitions that are going to be used to target civilians makes us complicit in this humanitarian and national security disaster. Saudi Arabia needs to see that there will be consequences if they ignore U.S. demands and target civilian infrastructure,” said Sen. Murphy.
“Thousands of civilians have been unjustly killed or wounded by Saudi-led forces in the Yemeni civil war,” said Sen. Franken. “But despite this tragedy, the U.S. continues to sell billions of dollars of weaponry to the Saudis while turning a blind eye to their indiscriminate killing of children, women, and men in Yemen. Our bipartisan resolution would block the latest weapon sale and help demonstrate that the U.S. won’t stand for what the Saudis are doing to innocent people.”
The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 provides the special procedures whereby a senator can force a vote on an arms sale. In 2016, Senators Paul, Murphy, and Franken introduced a bipartisan resolution to block the sale of $1.15 billion in Abrams tanks and associated major defense articles to Saudi Arabia.
You can read the resolution HERE.