State Department’s Weapon Sales To Foreign Countries Needs More Oversight

“Arms sales to foreign militaries are an instrument of U.S. foreign policy,” said Rep. Lieu.
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WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County), Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA) announced the reintroduction of the Arms Sale Oversight Act, which would align House procedure for reviewing major arms sales with existing Senate procedure under the Arms Export Control Act.

The bill makes it possible for any House member to force debate on the House floor in the event that the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) does not debate a contested arms sale.

“Arms sales to foreign militaries are an instrument of U.S. foreign policy,” said Rep. Lieu. “Like our Senate colleagues, we as House members should have the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate and debate arms sales to make sure they are in our nation’s best interest. However, current procedures often leave us in the dark. Arms sales with foreign countries are worthy of intense Congressional scrutiny, and House members shouldn’t face roadblocks to doing our jobs. I’m pleased to reintroduce this legislation with Representatives Omar and Jacobs to make a simple fix that would strengthen Congress’s ability to ensure this key foreign policy tool is being used appropriately and effectively.”

“The State Department oversees about $170 billion in arms sales every year, including to some of the most egregious human rights abusers in the world,” said Rep. Omar. “This does nothing to further the cause of human rights, but does line the pockets of some of largest war profiteers and weapons contractors. If we are serious about putting human rights at the center of our foreign policy, we need to stop arming human rights abusers, full stop. I am proud to cosponsor Rep. Ted Lieu’s critical bill to provide more meaningful oversight over arms sales, and look forward to building a world free of arms sales and impunity for human rights abuses.”

“We must make sure that our foreign policy is consistent with our values, including our arms sales,” said Rep. Jacobs. “I am proud to cosponsor Congressman Lieu’s legislation, which strengthens congressional oversight and paves the way for closer consideration of human rights in our decision-making process.”

READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE BILL HERE

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