Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., portrayed the vote on the resolution as a way of putting Saudi Arabia on notice about its conduct in Yemen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Senate on Wednesday voted down a rare attempt to block an arms sale to Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. counterterrorism partner but one that has fallen into disfavor with a number of lawmakers due to the kingdom's involvement in the war in Yemen and lingering suspicions about its role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Though senators voted 71-27 to table a resolution that would block the sale, the measure's bipartisan backers, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., portrayed it as a partial success. They argued the vote sends a strong signal to Riyadh and to the Obama administration that a significant portion of Congress is unhappy with Saudi Arabia’s apparent negligence in preventing civilian casualties in its 18-month bombing campaign in Yemen, as well as its broader role in the fight against terrorism.