The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to end the country's support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition's war in Yemen, bringing Congress one step closer to an unprecedented rebuke of President Donald Trump's foreign policy.
Should it pass Congress, it could force Trump to issue the first veto of his tenure. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), among others, seeks to end any and all U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led conflict, including providing targeting support for Saudi airstrikes in the war-torn country. 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.
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.
Some Senate Republicans this week plan to vote again Trump's emergency declaration, congressional Republicans backed Trump off a withdrawal of USA troops from Syria last month, and the House passed a resolution in January to bar a US exit from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The Yemen resolution "seeks to override the President's determination as Commander in Chief", the statement said, and "would harm bilateral relationships in the region".More news: Kyle Busch sweeps ISM Raceway weekend, nabs national win 199
Passage of the resolution comes as the Saudis continue to launch deadly airstrikes in Yemen with USA backing, worsening a crisis that has already resulted in mass suffering and tens of thousands of deaths.
"By defining "hostilities" to include defense cooperation such as aerial refueling", the statement said, the Yemen resolution could also "establish bad precedent for future legislation".
Many lawmakers have taken issue with the number of civilian deaths in Yemen's conflict and have been calling for an end of United States military support ever since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October. Lawmakers from both parties have criticized Trump for not condemning Saudi Arabia strongly enough for the killing.
The measure was co-sponsored by Vermont Sen.
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.More news: Fox News' Tucker Carlson Calls Iraqis "Semiliterate Primitive Monkeys" in Surfaced Recording
McConnell argued the Yemen resolution "will not enhance America's diplomatic leverage" and will make it more hard for the U.S.to end the conflict in Yemen and minimize civilian casualties.
Some also contended that stopping USA support would help Iran, and potentially prolong the conflict by ending Washington's ability to influence Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a partner in the conflict, to pursue a sustainable political settlement.
"Peace envoys are telling us they want deeper USA engagement in this situation", Risch said in a statement following the vote.
"We're helping a foreign power bomb its adversaries in what is undoubtedly, irrefutably, a war", said Republican Senator Mike Lee, who sponsored the resolution, urging a "yes" vote. Its backers have argued that USA involvement in the conflict violates the constitutional requirement that Congress alone can authorize participation in war.
The four-year-long civil war in Yemen, which pits the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels backed by Iran, has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world's most dire humanitarian crisis, with the country on the brink of starvation. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Sen.More news: China blocks move to declare Masood Azhar a global terrorist at UN