WASHINGTON — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Ilhan Omar (MN-05), whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement ahead of a Senate vote to block the sale of $650 million in Raytheon air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia:  

“After nearly seven years of war and roughly a quarter of a million people killed, Saudi Arabia continues to relentlessly bomb Yemen and impose a crippling siege on the country, depriving millions of civilians of adequate food, fuel and medicine. The Senate must block this weapons sale and send a clear message to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman: Congress will not tolerate Saudi impunity as it commits war crimes and starves the people of Yemen.

“The world’s largest humanitarian crisis is escalating. Last month, Saudi Arabia tightened its blockade on Yemen, permitting just 3 percent of the fuel the country needs into Yemen’s major port. Saudi warplanes enforce a blockade on Yemen’s airspace, threatening to shoot down commercial and humanitarian flights. This has almost completely halted medicine and medical supplies from entering the country, and has amounted to a death sentence for tens of thousands of Yemenis seeking lifesaving treatment abroad.

“In 2019, President Biden promised to end the war in Yemen, make the Saudis ‘pay the price’ for human rights abuses, and not ‘sell more weapons to them.’ But over the past year, while the Biden Administration has publicly urged an easing of Yemen’s port restrictions, the U.S. has continued logistical support essential to the deadly Saudi aerial blockade on Yemen. As the Saudis disregard the administration’s appeals and restrict fuel imports even further, this unconditional sale of air-to-air missiles threatens to greenlight Saudi conduct and empower Saudi Arabia’s offensive military campaign collectively punishing tens of millions of civilians.

“We applaud the bipartisan effort to hold Saudi Arabia accountable and help bring the war in Yemen to an end, as well as the leadership of its cosponsors, Senators Sanders (I-VT), Leahy (D-VT), Merkley (D-OR), Markey (D-MA), Warren (D-MA), and Wyden (D-OR), who are working to recenter human rights in our foreign policy. We urge all Senators to pass this resolution of disapproval with a convincing majority so that the House can adopt the bill without delay.”

Representatives Omar and Jayapal, along with 10 other CPC Members, are sponsors of House Joint Resolution 63, a companion bill to Senate Joint Resolution 31 to disapprove of the proposed weapons sale.