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U.S. House to vote on Saudi arms deals backed by Trump

U.S. House to vote on Saudi arms deals backed by Trump
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) waits for the start of an event with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (2-R) and Gulf Cooperation Council leaders at their summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst -
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JONATHAN ERNST(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will vote next month on billions of dollars worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia already rejected by the Senate despite a veto threat from President Donald Trump.

Representative Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House, told reporters on Tuesday that the chamber would vote on 22 resolutions of disapproval of the arms deals when it returns to Washington on July 9 after next week’s recess for the U.S. Independence Day holiday.

Trump announced in May that he would go ahead with 22 arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, worth an estimated $8.1 billion (£6.4 billion), sidestepping the congressional review process by declaring an emergency over Iran.

Trump’s fellow Republicans control a majority in the Senate, but several joined with the Democrats to back the 22 resolutions – one for each of the military sales – on June 20.

They are also expected to pass the House, where Democrats hold a majority of seats.

Although they did not garner enough support to overcome Trump’s promised veto, backers of the resolutions said they sent an important bipartisan message to Saudi Arabia and Trump, that U.S. lawmakers will push back against Riyadh over human rights abuses, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and steep civilian casualties from the Saudi- and UAE-led air campaign in Yemen’s civil war.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker and Patricia Zengerle; editing by G Crosse)

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