The Senate voted to end military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen in a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s defense of the kingdom after its killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The New York Times reports.
The Senate approved a resolution in a rare 56-41 vote to rein in Trump’s war powers and condemn the four-year war that has killed thousands of civilians and continues to starve children.
After approving the resolution to end US support of Saudi Arabia’s war effors, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the murder of Khashoggi.
Trump has repeatedly defended the crown prince despite his own intelligence agencies’ findings that he ordered the killing.
“What the Khashoggi event did, I think, was to focus on the fact that we have been led into this civil war in Yemen, half a world away, into a conflict in which few Americans that I know can articulate what American national security interest is at stake,” said Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee. “And we’ve done so, following the lead of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Lee wrote the resolution alongside Bernie Sanders.
Sanders said it was the first time Congress invoked the 1973 War Powers Act to make it clear that “the constitutional responsibility for making war rests with the United States Congress, not the White House.”
“Today, we tell the despotic regime in Saudi Arabia that we will not be part of their military adventurism,” he said.
Seven Republican Senators join Dems:
Along with Lee, just six Republicans broke with Trump to approve the bill: Maine’s Susan Collins, Montana’s Steve Daines, Arizona’s Jeff Flake, Kansas’ Jerry Moran, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and Indiana’s Jeff Young.
Senators acted because Trump wouldn’t:
Republican Tennessee Gov. Bob Corker, who sponsored the measure to condemn the crown prince, said it was crucial for the Senate to speak with “one voice.”
“Unanimously, the United States Senate has said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “That is a strong statement. I think it speaks to the values that we hold dear.”
“We cannot sweep under the rug the callous disregard for human life and flagrant violations of international norms the Saudis are showing,” added New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. “A few more weapons purchases cannot buy our silence — it should not buy our silence. And if the president will not, Congress must act.”