June 13, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 100 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
MOTION TO DISCHARGE--S.J. RES. 42--Continued; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 100
(Senate - June 13, 2017)
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[Pages S3427-S3428] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] MOTION TO DISCHARGE--S.J. RES. 42--Continued The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will now be 10 minutes of debate remaining on the motion to discharge S.J. Res. 42, equally divided between Senator Paul or his designee and the opponents of the motion. Who yields time? The Senator from Arizona. Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I rise to speak in opposition to the resolution before us. It has obviously been tried before, and I think there is no doubt that if it were to pass, this could pose a very dangerous threat to our relationship with Saudi Arabia at a time when the Iranians have now achieved a peninsula all the way across from Tehran all the way to Baghdad, and there is no doubt that the Iranians have continued their aggressive behavior. If we vote down this arms sale to Saudi Arabia, it would have a devastating effect on our standing in the Middle East and a long-term impact on our ability to counter what is clearly Iranian aggressive behavior. So I strongly urge my colleagues to vote against this resolution. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina. Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I wish to join with Senator McCain very quickly. At 71 to 27, on September 21 of last year, we voted to approve tank sales to Saudi Arabia because they need more weapons and equipment to counter the Iranian aggression in Yemen and other places. Most of the people who are now going to vote against precision-guided weapons that will reduce civilian casualties voted for tank sales. This $500 million carved out of this package gives Saudi Arabia a qualitative edge on the battlefield against Iranian proxies who could care less about civilian casualties. It is the most upside-down thinking I have ever seen, and many of you over there actually approved this because it was worked on before President Trump became President. So it is really disheartening to see you support President Obama's tank sales but that you are not going to support President Trump's selling weapons, which gives us an advantage over Iran in Saudi Arabia and actually reduces civilian casualities. Secretary Mattis said it the best: Iran would appreciate killing this deal and taking these weapons off the table. I urge everybody in here, if you are serious about standing up to Iran, stand with Saudi Arabia, as imperfect as they are. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky. Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, the question is, Should we sell arms to Saudi Arabia--a country that many suspect was involved in 9/11; a country that many suspect gave weapons to ISIS, the people we are fighting in the Middle East; a country that imprisons the victims of rape because it is apparently or presumably the fault of the woman who is raped in Saudi Arabia? One woman, the girl of Qatif, was given a sentence of 70 lashes and 6 months in jail. They increased her penalty to 200 lashes, and finally, only when we protested, was it reversed. They sentenced a poet to 1,000 lashes. Sometimes you don't survive 1,000 lashes. So they gave him 100 at a time. He is going to be imprisoned for 10 years. They are not the kind of persons we should be sending your weapons to. These weapons were funded and supported by the American taxpayer, and we should not be willy-nilly giving them to people who imprison their people for protesting. Currently, a young man, 17 years old, named Ali al-Nimr is on death row. But it is not enough just to kill him for protesting for free speech and free press. They will behead him and crucify him. This barbaric nation should not be getting our weapons. We should not sell them weapons. Currently, there is a blockade of Yemen, and 17 million people risk starvation. We should not be supporting this effort. There is probably no greater purveyor of hatred for Christianity and Judaism than Saudi Arabia. We should not be giving them weapons. They have madrassas across the world teaching hatred of us, preaching hatred of the West, hatred of Christianity, hatred of Judaism, and these people want to give them weapons. I don't get it. It makes no sense. Some will argue that it is a jobs program. Well, isn't that swell. We are [[Page S3428]] going to give money to people who behead you and crucify you to create jobs. That should never be the way we make a decision about arms sales in our country. A famous Republican and general, General Dwight Eisenhower, said he worried that someday we would make decisions not based on our defense but based on the military industrial complex. I am embarrassed that people are out here talking about making us some money and making a buck, while 17 million people live on a starvation diet and are threatened with famine. I am embarrassed that people would bring up trying to feather the nest of corporations in order to sell these weapons. This should be made, pure and simple, on our national defense. Saudi Arabia is not a reliable ally. Saudi Arabia should not get these weapons. For every supposed good thing they do, they do five things that are bad for America. They are the biggest purveyor of hatred of Christianity and Judaism. I request a ``no'' vote, and I reserve the remainder of my time. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Portman). The Senator from Tennessee. Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I respect my friend from Kentucky. We work together on the Foreign Relations Committee. I could not disagree more on this issue, and I will give a brief outline. The Houthis are an Iran-backed entity that overthrew a Western-backed government in Yemen. Last year on the floor, with a vote of 71 votes, this body voted to support the selling of tanks to Saudi Arabia. Foreign policy partisanship generally stops at the shores. I know Senator Paul has been very consistent on this, but I am afraid this vote is somewhat about some Members wanting to get a piece of President Trump's hide on an issue that is far more important than something like that. I am fearful that this is what is happening today on the floor. A lot of people don't realize that Saudi Arabia already has the bombs. What we would be selling to them is the precision-guided weaponry systems that allow these bombs to be smart bombs and not dumb bombs. Most people have been concerned about Saudi Arabia when they have been involved in pushing back the Houthis, who, by the way, are firing weapons into their country from the southern border. It would be no different than if Mexico were doing that to ours. I know that is not going to happen. But, obviously, we would be firing back. So what is happening here is that they bought the bombs from Italy, and what they want to buy from us is these precision systems that allow them to not kill civilians. It is to protect civilians. Think about this. Here in the Senate we want to protect civilians in Saudi Arabia, and in our wisdom we are looking at blocking the sale of the very mechanisms that would allow that to happen--in some cases, I am afraid, just to make a point against the Trump administration. Actually, their policies here have been very sound. The meeting they had in Saudi Arabia was very beneficial. Saudi Arabia has flaws, but they have been an ally. This would show us as stepping away from an ally in a way that is cutting our nose off to spite our face by not allowing them to have the precision mechanisms to keep them from killing civilians. We have taken Senators down in the SCIF. There is absolutely no evidence that Saudi Arabia tried to kill civilians--none. As a matter of fact, there is evidence to the contrary. So, please, let's be rational. I know there are disagreements over some foreign policy issues. This should not be one of them. I urge defeat of this proposal. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky. Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, Saudi Arabia bombed a funeral procession. There was no mistake here. There was no cloud cover. There was no growth or coppice of trees and they accidentally bombed a funeral procession. They bombed them and killed 125 civilians in a funeral. They wounded 500. This was no mistake. This was no error. This was them, pointedly dropping bombs on civilians. They put protestors in jail. They have a 17-year-old--he is now 20-- who has been in jail for 3 years. He will be beheaded and then crucified. We should not be giving these people weapons. They supported ISIS. They are on the wrong side of the war. They are the greatest purveyor of hatred for Christianity and Judaism. They do not deserve your weapons. They are going to give your weapons. They belong to the American people. They are going to give them to people who behead and crucify protesters. You can't take a Bible into Saudi Arabia. You can't visit their major cities. We can't make them be like us, but we don't have to encourage their behavior by giving them weapons that may well fall into the hands of people who are our enemies. I urge a ``no'' vote. I think we should not be selling arms to Saudi Arabia. The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired. The question is on agreeing to the motion to discharge. Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I ask for the yeas and nays. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There appears to be a sufficient second. The clerk will call the roll. The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll. The result was announced--yeas 47, nays 53, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 143 Leg.] YEAS--47 Baldwin Bennet Blumenthal Booker Brown Cantwell Cardin Carper Casey Coons Cortez Masto Duckworth Durbin Feinstein Franken Gillibrand Harris Hassan Heinrich Heitkamp Heller Hirono Kaine King Klobuchar Leahy Lee Markey Menendez Merkley Murphy Murray Paul Peters Reed Sanders Schatz Schumer Shaheen Stabenow Tester Udall Van Hollen Warren Whitehouse Wyden Young NAYS--53 Alexander Barrasso Blunt Boozman Burr Capito Cassidy Cochran Collins Corker Cornyn Cotton Crapo Cruz Daines Donnelly Enzi Ernst Fischer Flake Gardner Graham Grassley Hatch Hoeven Inhofe Isakson Johnson Kennedy Lankford Manchin McCain McCaskill McConnell Moran Murkowski Nelson Perdue Portman Risch Roberts Rounds Rubio Sasse Scott Shelby Strange Sullivan Thune Tillis Toomey Warner Wicker The motion was rejected. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader. ____________________