The Senate advances a resolution that would end the United States’ military’s support of the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign in Yemen despite the Trump Administration lobbying against the bill.
The Trump administration tried to dissuade Republicans from backing the bill by sending Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Capitol Hill and issuing a veto threat but the Senate advanced the resolution by a 63-37 vote, The Washington Post reports.
The vote advances the bill out of the Foreign Relations Committee for a full Senate vote.
The move comes as President Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia in their implausible attempt to cover up the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“In my mind it is imperative today that the United States Senate tell Saudi Arabia and tell the world that we are not going to be continuing to be part of that humanitarian disaster,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, who co-sponsored the bill. “We have to make the decision as to what happens in the war in Yemen and our role in that, and that’s what the vote today is about.”
Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who co-sponsored the bill with Sanders and Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy, added, “regardless of what may have happened with Mr. Khashoggi, we are fighting a war in Yemen that we haven’t declared, that has never been declared or authorized by Congress. That’s not constitutional.”
Trump-defender Lindsay Graham rips administration response to Saudi Arabia: Graham was one of 19 Republicans who voted for the bill after opposing it in March.
“I changed my mind because I’m pissed,” Graham said of his vote. “The way the administration had handled the Saudi Arabia event is just not acceptable, the briefing [Wednesday] did not help me at all better understand the role that [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] played in the killing of Mr. Khashoggi.”
Pompeo warns move will strengthen Iran: “All we would achieve from an American drawdown is a stronger Iran and a reinvigorated ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” the secretary of state said, warning against the resolution’s passage. “Try defending that outcome back home.”
“We are seldom free to work with unblemished partners,”added Defense Secretary James Mattis. “Long-standing relationships guide but do not blind us. Saudi Arabia, due to geography and the Iranian threat, is fundamental to maintaining regional and Israeli security, and to our interest in Mideast stability.”