Senate urges halt to USA support for Saudi war on Yemen

From left Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt. Sen. Chris Murphy D-Conn. and Sen. Mike Lee R-Utah meet before holding a news conference on the Senate vote on ending U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen at the Capitol in Washingt

The U.S. Senate defied President Donald Trump on Wednesday and voted to cut off support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., calling upon the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which states that if USA troops are involved in "hostilities" in other nations "without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the president if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution". Saudi Arabia said that U.S. assistance was no longer needed.

But the resolution will probably be struck down by Mr Trump's first veto since he took office. In an attempt to "halt American military involvement in a foreign conflict", this is the first time the decade-old War Powers Resolution was invoked. The Trump administration declined to certify last month that the Saudis were undertaking efforts to reduce civilian casualties despite a congressional mandate do so as a condition for resuming United States assistance.

Mr Sanders, who is running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020, called the Yemen war "harmful to our national security and the security of the region".

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, accompanied by Sen.

But the White House has promised a veto on whatever emerges, and Wednesday's vote signals there's more than enough support for the president to sustain that.

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.

Some Senate Republicans this week plan to vote again Trump's emergency declaration, congressional Republicans backed Trump off a withdrawal of US troops from Syria last month, and the House passed a resolution in January to bar a USA exit from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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".

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

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.

Sanders, using unusually blunt language about an American ally, said the United States should not "simply follow the despotic lead of a government in Saudi Arabia".

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 Senate is poised to vote Wednesday on ending USA support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen, legislation the White House has threatened to veto.

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

A small group of Republicans were willing to cross party lines to rebuke Trump over his support for a conflict the United Nations has declared a humanitarian disaster, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians and left half the population of Yemen on the brink of starvation.

"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.

Murphy said that after the Senate voted for a similar resolution past year, the warring parties in Yemen moved towards a cease fire.

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