Washington (AFP) – The US Senate on Wednesday dealt a stinging bipartisan rebuke to Donald Trump’s foreign policy and his alliance with Riyadh, voting to end support for the bloody Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.
Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chamber approved a historic curtailment of presidential war powers that directs Trump “to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen” within 30 days.
The Senate vote was 54 to 46, with seven Republicans defying the president and aligning with Democrats.
The text now heads to the Democrat-led House of Representatives, which approved a similar measure that stalled earlier this year, and which is likely to pass the latest effort.
The White House has threatened a veto, but the measure nonetheless sets a historic marker.
Should the House approve the measure, it would be the first ever passed by Congress to invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution to directly curtail a president’s use of military powers.
“Today, we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional power by ending US involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional,” Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president in 2020 and is a sponsor of the measure, said on the Senate floor.
Republican Senator Mike Lee concurred, saying Saudi Arabia “is not an ally that deserves our support or our military intervention.”
The Saudis, he said, “are likely using our own weapons… to commit these atrocities of war. That’s not OK.”
The war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 14 million people at risk of famine.
The World Health Organization says about 10,000 people have been killed in the war between forces loyal to the Yemeni government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, and the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels, but rights groups say the death toll is far higher.
The vote may well be the first of two congressional rebukes of Trump in as many days.
On Thursday, the Senate is expected to vote on a resolution 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.