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U.S. Senate votes to end support for Saudi war in Yemen

14 March 2019

The US Republican-led Senate has approved a bill to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen.

The vote was 54-46 in the Senate, more than the 51 needed to pass in the 100-member Senate, as seven Republicans joined Democrats in backing the measure. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the lead sponsor of the resolution, declared following the vote. Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana.

Supporters of the War Powers Resolution argued the U.S. shouldn't be involved in the war without explicit permission from Congress. Opponents argued the USA does not have "boots on the ground" and is offering noncombat technical assistance to Saudi Arabia, an ally. "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". He said a vote in favor of the measure would 'begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional authority by ending United States involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is unconstitutional'. However, the White House has stated that if the resolution were to land on US President Donald Trump's desk, he would veto it. 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".

In its statement threatening a veto, the White House argued the premise of the resolution is flawed and that it would undermine the fight against extremism.

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The U.S. has provided refueling for Saudi coalition aircraft, but that ended past year after the Saudi regime was implicated in the murder of one of its citizens, journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Lawmakers from both parties have criticized Trump for not condemning Saudi Arabia strongly enough for the killing.

The Senate had approved the war powers resolution in December, during the last Congress, the first time such a measure had passed the chamber.

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.

"We should not be associated with a bombing campaign that the United Nations tells us is likely a gross violation of human rights", Murphy said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "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".

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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. "We need cooperation from Yemen, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia to defeat these terrorists".

The measure was put to vote under the War Powers Act, which allows the resolution to be fast-tracked through US Congress. "We should instead signal our resolve that the U.S.is committed to playing an important role in pushing for a sustainable political settlement in Yemen".

Wednesday's resolution will be considered in the now Democrat-led House of Representatives, and is thought likely to pass.

The war in Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 14 million people at risk of starvation. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who co-sponsored the Sanders bill along with Sen.

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U.S. Senate votes to end support for Saudi war in Yemen