1. Press Release
  2. Middle East & Iran

47 Senators Say No to Weapons of Mass Starvation

47 Senators voting against Saudi bomb sale sends clear message that Yemen war must end

By Kate Gould, June 13, 2017

FCNL applauds the 47 senators who voted today to block the sale of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia. The growing Senate opposition to this sale sends a strong signal that U.S. backing for the Saudi-led coalition’s indiscriminate killing of civilians and de-facto blockade in Yemen must end.


Kate Gould, FCNL’s Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy, made the following statement:

“Today, the Senate delivered a stinging rebuke to the Trump administration’s blank check for Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war in Yemen. Nearly half of the Senate—47 senators—voted to block the sale of weapons of mass starvation to fuel the Saudi-led war in Yemen. This is a significant increase from the vote count last year, when 27 senators voted to block a tank sale to Saudi Arabia. Today’s vote highlights the growing resistance--in Congress and in grassroots networks across the country— to re-stocking Made in the USA bombs destined for slaughtering Yemeni civilians.

This vote should mark the beginning, not the end, of congressional action to stop the bombardment and starvation of millions of Yemenis.

“The indomitable power of a fired-up citizenry was on full display today. Despite the Saudi government and the world’s largest weapons manufacturers paying K Street lobbyists to descend on Capitol Hill, opposition to the Saudi-led war in Yemen is on the rise. Slick advertising and Saudi-funded lobbying campaigns did not get a slam dunk on the Senate floor. This is proof positive that grassroots citizen advocacy—whether in calls, emails, letters to the editor or visits with congressional offices—matters.

“This vote should mark the beginning, not the end, of congressional action to stop the bombardment and starvation of millions of Yemenis. Our nationwide network will be urging members of Congress to continue to press the Trump administration, the Saudi government and the world to end to the war and famine, and to pursue a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the crisis in Yemen. As a faith community, we categorically reject the Saudi strategy of starving civilians to gain leverage at the negotiating table. ”

S.J.Res. 42, originally introduced by Senators Paul, Murphy and Franken, is a resolution of disapproval for the $550 million sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that replenishes stockpiles of weapons the kingdom is using in its war in Yemen. The final vote was 47 to 53.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, the oldest registered religious lobby in Washington, is a nonpartisan Quaker lobby in the public interest. FCNL works with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people of many different faiths from every state in the U.S. to advocate for social and economic justice, peace, and good government.

Kate Gould

  • Legislative Director, Middle East Policy

Kate Gould is FCNL's Legislative Director for Middle East Policy. Kate is one of only a handful of registered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. working to advance human rights objectives and support diplomatic solutions to resolve disputes between the U.S. and Iran and the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel/Palestine.