Senate votes to end U.S. support of Saudi-led Yemen war

Nellie Chapman
March 16, 2019

The US Senate, defying President Donald Trump's alliance with Saudi Arabia's Riyadh and his foreign policy, on Wednesday voted to end the country's support for Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes in Yemen.

In a Senate floor speech ahead of the vote, Sanders said that Congress is reclaiming its constitutional war powers to end America's complicity in a humanitarian crisis.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont and Sen.

Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) also played key roles in advocating for and passing the resolution.

The Saudi-led war, which at times targeted civilian facilities and prevented aid shipments from getting to Yemenis, had been faulted by human rights organizations for exacerbating what the United Nations called the world's "worst humanitarian catastrophe". "Lastly and not leastly important, the United States Congress is going to reassert its constitutional responsibility over issues of war that has been abdicated to presidents - Democrats and Republicans - for too many years".

Lawmakers have never before invoked the decades-old War Powers Resolution to stop a foreign conflict, but they are poised to do just that in the bid to cut off USA support for a war that has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. US support for the Saudis does not constitute engaging in "hostilities", the statement said, and the Yemen resolution "seeks to override the president's determination as commander in chief".

The seven Republicans who backed Wednesday's vote were Sens.

The Latest: Senate votes to end US support of Yemen war
US Senate Passes Resolution to End Military Support for Saudi-Led War in Yemen

The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of US forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy, the resolution will scale back the USA role in and American military assistance for Saudi war on Yemen ahead of the fourth anniversary of the day when the Saudi-led coalition started its campaign against the impoverished nation.

The caucus initially emphasized that the resolution would end U.S. midair refueling for Saudi coalition warplanes, which the Donald Trump administration ended previous year shortly after Khashoggi's murder.

Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, argued that US support for the Saudi-led coalition helps facilitate peace talks and withdrawing from the conflict would delay an eventual political settlement.

Top Republicans Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn voted against the resolution. Trump has vowed to veto the resolution if it passed through the Democrat-led House.

A similar measure was introduced in the US House in February, however, as The Hill reports, it "ran into a procedural roadblock" when it got to the US Senate, and was not able to be voted on in a manner that would allow it to pass with a simple majority vote, which in the Senate requires a total of 51 yeas.

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