The United States House of Representatives has voted to deny all aid to Saudi Arabia on account of its practice of religious intolerance and its support for terrorist groups. This passed despite assurances from the Bush administration that the Saudi kingdom is cooperating with the US in the war on terror. The ban comes as an amendment tacked on to a 34.2 billion dollar foreign aid funding bill.
The amendment, which had bipartisan support and was championed by New York Democrat Anthony Weiner, was not the first of its kind to be passed by the House. However, the current legislation is unique in that it goes a step farther by closing a legislative loophole that has previously allowed President Bush to waive the ban by invoking requirements of the war on terror. The amendment states that “none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available” by the foreign operations bill “shall be obligated or expended to finance any assistance to Saudi Arabia” or “used to execute a waiver.”
While Saudi Arabia has not been a large recipient of US aid, the Bush administration has sent more than $2.5 million to the kingdom over the last two fiscal years.