The Senate on Friday passed a resolution calling on the U.S. to end military assistance for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthis, in a bipartisan vote that saw Republicans break with President Trump.
The Senate voted 56-41 for the measure, which came as U.N. negotiators hashed out a ceasefire between the two sides in talks in Sweden and amid continued controversy over the killing of activist Jamal Khashoggi. In a second Saudi rebuke, a joint resolution saying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was responsible for the killing of Khashoggi passed by a voice vote.
The Yemen resolution was sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Although Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and most Republicans opposed it, it managed to pick up enough votes to pass.
Sanders described the vote as a “historic moment” and thanked senators for saying “the U.S. will no longer participate in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen which has caused the worst humanitarian crisis on earth with 85,000 children starving to death.”
Republicans and key officials in the Trump administration had urged the Senate not to pass such a resolution, and have tried to uphold the U.S.-Saudi alliance amid international fallout over Khashoggi’s brutal killing at the hands of Saudi operatives. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters last week that a resolution could damage the U.N.-led peace talks.
“It is the view of the administration … that passing a resolution at this point undermines that, it would encourage the Houthis, it would encourage the Iranians, and it would undermine the fragile agreement for everyone to go to Sweden and have this discussion,” he said.