Although it was known to have made some missile purchases from China a few decades back, it was not known to have pursued the ability to develop and build missiles. Saudi Arabia has been keen to preserve an edge over regional arch-foe Iran, which manufactures its own missiles.
Earlier this year, satellite images discovered that there may be a ballistic missile factory in Saudi Arabia.
The authorizations are among seven granted by Trump since 2017, as Saudi Arabia has been working toward developing its first two nuclear reactors, according to Kaine.
Ballistic missiles have the ability to carry nuclear warheads to targets thousands of kilometers away.
This could threaten decades of US efforts to 'limit missile proliferation' in the Middle East. "From bone-saws to ballistic missiles".
President Donald Trump's administration did not make the intelligence available to key lawmakers, angering Democrats, CNN reported, citing three anonymous individuals with knowledge of the intelligence.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China and Saudi Arabia are "comprehensive strategic partners", and that both countries "maintain friendly cooperation in all areas, including in the area of arms sales". Such cooperation does not violate any worldwide laws, nor does it involve the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction'.
Tensions between the White House and Congress over Saudi Arabia have been at a fever pitch in recent months and hit their zenith over Trump's decision in May to declare a national security emergency to sell billions of dollars worth of armaments to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without congressional approval.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican who is usually in lockstep with Mr Trump, voiced hope for "strong bipartisan support" in preventing the sales.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (seen in file photo) has said Saudi would immediately seek a nuclear weapon if Iran obtained one.
Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2011. Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey and his body allegedly cut up using a bone saw and disposed.