Disapproving the issuance of a letter of offer with respect to a certain proposed sale of defense articles and defense services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

November 18, 2010
November 18, 2010
Referred to House (sub)committee

2 cosponsors

Would prohibit the Obama administration’s proposed multiyear $60 b. arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The proposed sale generated much opposition from Congress. On 11/10/10 a letter signed by 198 members of the House was sent to Secy. of Defense Robert Gates and Secy. of State Hillary Clinton which voiced deep concerns about the impact of the arms sales, especially with regard to Israel. Circulated by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-CA), the letter was strongly supported by AIPAC, which posted the names of all 198 signatories on its Web site, encouraging supporters to contact and thank them.

Two days later, AIPAC released an issue memo making substantially the same points as the letter, namely, that the Obama administration must detail (1) the impact of the sale on Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region, (2) the measures needed to maintain that edge if Saudi Arabia acquired the weapons, and (3) whether the Saudi government had agreed to cooperate more fully on U.S. goals with regard to the peace process and countering Iranian influence in the region.

Unlike this resolution, neither the letter nor the AIPAC issue memo actually advocated the sale’s cancellation, but instead called for scrutiny and oversight. While the joint resolution was introduced shortly before Congress’s review period expired (allowing Obama to move forward with the sale), Congress could pass a joint resolution forbidding the deal right up to the point of delivery. As chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Berman could have moved the resolution out of committee and to the House floor for a vote but did not do so. Meanwhile, the Israeli government offered no public objection to the deal.

See also: identical measure H. J. Res. 124 of 12/15/10 and related measure S. 3847 of 9/27/10.

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