The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to prohibit any aid to Saudi Arabia as lawmakers accused the close ally of religious intolerance and bankrolling terrorist organizations.
The prohibition, reflecting persistent tensions with the kingdom after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, was attached to a foreign aid funding bill for next year that has not yet been debated by the Senate.
It also faces a veto threat from the White House because of an unrelated provision.
A spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington declined to comment on the legislation.
In the past three years, Congress has passed bills to stop the relatively small amount of U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia, only to see the Bush administration circumvent the prohibitions.
Now, lawmakers are trying to close loopholes so that no more U.S. aid can be sent to the world’s leading petroleum exporter.
“By cutting off aid and closing the loophole we send a clear message to the Saudi Arabian government that they must be a true ally in advancing peace in the Middle East,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat.
According to supporters of the legislation, the United States provided $2.5 million to Riyadh in 2005 and 2006.
I applaud this legislation. They could have gone even further and done something about the appalling agreement between President Bush and the Saudi kingdom to open America’s classrooms to Saudi students–including Saudis studying aviation.