Five Democratic senators joined Republicans in narrowly voting to approve Trumpís arms deal.
By Ben Norton / AlterNet
June 14, 2017, 3:47 PM GMT

Five Democratic senators joined hands with Republicans to push through the Trump administrationís sale of $510 million in precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, in a narrow 53-47 vote.

Three of these Democrats have received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the arms industry, which will be reaping an unprecedented windfall profit from Trump's record-breaking $110 billion weapons deal with the Saudi monarchy.

The Saudi regime will likely use these weapons to continue waging a brutal U.S.-backed war on Yemen, which has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people and created what the United Nations has repeatedly warned is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

Senators from both sides of the aisle proposed the bill S.J.Res.42 in late May to try to block this $510 million portion of the larger arms deal. Lawmakers voted on the legislation on June 13, and it was defeated with 47 votes for and 53 against.

Voting fell largely on partisan lines, with most Republicans for it and Democrats in opposition. However, Democratic senators Mark Warner (Virginia), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Bill Nelson (Florida) and Joe Donnelly (Indiana) crossed to the other side and gave the GOP the majority it needed to shoot down the legislation.

AlterNet contacted the offices of all five Democratic lawmakers with a request for comment as to why they voted in support of arming Saudi Arabia. None replied.


Among Bill Nelsonís top ten donors from 2011 to 2016 was the arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, with nearly $40,000 in contributions. Lockheed will not only reap at least $6 billion from the $110 billion deal with Saudi Arabia, selling the kingdom warships and advanced military hardware; it will also extend its contract to train the Saudi army.

Senator Mark Warner received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from defense contractors Northrop Grumman, Huntington Ingalls Industries and the Harris Corporation between 2011 and 2016, according to the transparency group OpenSecrets.

Similarly, one of the top donors to Claire McCaskill is Boeing, which gave tens of thousands of dollars between 2011 and 2016.