Democratic Lawmakers Push Tougher Line on Saudi Arabia

Hello from a relatively quiet Capitol Hill. We’re wishing everyone who observes a blessed Good Friday today, a happy Easter, and a happy Passover. We’ll keep today’s edition short. 

Democrats Urge Distance From Saudi Arabia

A group of 30 House Democrats called on the Biden administration this week to deal more firmly with Saudi Arabia on account of the kingdom’s ongoing human rights abuses and its dealings with the Chinese government.

The group’s letter, which included signatures from key committee chairs and other notable members, adds to the recent rift between American lawmakers and Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s human rights record is abysmal, and members of Congress from both parties pushed for a tougher approach during the Trump administration amid the horrific war in Yemen and the Saudi government’s gruesome 2018 assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. President Joe Biden called the country a pariah in 2019 during his presidential campaign. But his actions in office have not matched that rhetoric, instead largely continuing the United States’ strategic partnership with Saudi leaders.

“Our continued unqualified support for the Saudi monarchy, which systematically, ruthlessly represses its own citizens, targets critics all over the world, carries out a brutal war in Yemen, and bolsters authoritarian regimes throughout the Middle East and North Africa, runs counter to U.S. national interests and damages the credibility of the United States to uphold our values,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Reps. Gerry Connolly and Jim McGovern.

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