Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Senate votes to end support for Saudi war in Yemen

Senate votes to end support for Saudi war in Yemen

Romney said while he has concerns about Saudi Arabia's recent behavior, particularly the murder of Khashoggi, ending support would undermine US allies and security interests in the region by emboldening Iran, hampering counterterrorism efforts, and potentially worsening the humanitarian crisis.

The Senate voted Wednesday to end USA support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen's ongoing civil war, the latest in a series of foreign policy rebuffs to President Trump. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the lead sponsor of the resolution, declared following the vote. They were: Lee, Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana.

The measure seeks to end any USA military involvement in the conflict in Yemen, including providing targeting support for Saudi air strikes, without authorization from Congress.

"The bottom line is the United States should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with a risky and irresponsible foreign policy", Mr. Sanders said.

"Today, we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional power by ending USA involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional", said independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, sponsor of the measure.

It's also another strong rebuke of President Donald Trump's support for Saudi Arabia, which has been a point of tension with Congress since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a year ago.

A statement from the administration said the bill "seeks to override the president's determination as commander in chief" and will "establish bad precedent".

The White House has threatened to veto the bill, arguing that United States support for the Saudi coalition does not amount to "hostilities".

Sen. Mike Lee has long called for the end of USA involvement, saying in a speech previous year that continuing to support the Saudis, especially in light of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is "bad diplomacy".

Trump has held back on criticizing Saudi Arabia, calling them an important strategic ally and counterbalance to Iran in the region.

The resolution, which is co-sponsored by US Sens.

On Thursday, the Senate is expected to vote on a resolution - already passed by the House - to reverse Trump's emergency declaration on border security, after the president went around Congress in a bid to secure more funding for his wall between the United States and Mexico. "By remaining engaged, the USA retains influence over the coalition's actions in Yemen and can continue to press for an end to the conflict".

"The Senate's vote to end the US role in Yemen is also a vote to re-democratize our nation's foreign policy".

"Peace envoys are telling us they want deeper USA engagement in this situation", Risch said in a statement following the vote.

No presidential military commitment has ever been ended by vote of Congress under the War Powers Resolution.

With the Democrats in control, the House passed its own version of the resolution in February, but a procedural issue meant the House must vote on the Senate's version of the measure.

The war in Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 14 million people at risk of starvation.

US Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) recently told Washington-based publication The Hill that the vote could be "tight", but that the measure would be able to gain the required amount of vote to pass.

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