The Senate voted Wednesday to end US support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, its latest rebuke of the Trump administration's continued embrace of the Saudi regime despite growing frustration among lawmakers with its actions on the world stage.
The vote marks the second time in recent months that the Senate has rejected the United States' continued participation in the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen's Houthi rebels, waged in the name of holding back Iranian expansion in the Gulf. But the Saudi-led effort, which has at times targeted civilian facilities and prevented aid shipments from getting to Yemenis in need, has been criminalized by human rights organizations for exacerbating what the United Nations has considered the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe. We should not be associated with a bombing campaign that the UN tells us is likely to be a gross violation of human rights, "Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
For supporters, the resolution is not just about taking a moral stand on human rights, but also about asserting Congress' fundamental constitutional privilege to declare war. ] "Today we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional authority by ending the US involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional, "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), The chief sponsor of the resolution, said on Senate floor Wednesday.
Sanders teamed up with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on the law, which seeks to invoke the War Powers Resolution to curb American participation in the Yemen war. If successful, it would mark the first time that Congress has successfully invoked the war powers resolution to end U.S. engagement in a conflict
However, the opposition has warned Wednesday that it is "fundamentally flawed," and will compromise efforts to promote a peaceful, negotiated settlement to Yemen's conflict by making the US position appear fractured
"It is going to send a message to people that they do not need to negotiate right now, that they are actually making gains," Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. James E. Risch (R-Idaho) said on the Senate floor Wednesday just before the vote. "I would urge my colleagues to vote against this at this time and give peace and change through the negotiations."
Supporters, however, argued that "if we pass this resolution, peace becomes more likely," as Murphy put it Wednesday , arguing that when the Senate cast a similar vote last year, it apparently helped push parties in the Yemen war towards declaring a ceasefire.
The resolution must still be taken in the House, where members passed a nearly identical resolution to end US