Senate heading for historic vote to pull US military aid to Saudi Arabia

Source: Washington Examiner | December 6, 2018 | Susan Ferrechio

The Senate could begin debating a measure as early as Monday that would override the Trump administration and force the withdrawal of U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The effort is fueled in large part by a strong sense among lawmakers in both parties that the United States needs to rebuke Saudi Arabia over the murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

The Senate has never considered a measure to withdraw U.S. military forces from an overseas conflict, and the resolution would compel them to take such a vote. Many think the Senate will take it up.

The vote hasn’t been scheduled yet, but Senate lawmakers anticipate Monday’s agenda will include passage of a motion to proceed to the joint resolution.

“My guess is it’s got more than 51,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., referring to a majority vote in the Senate that would be needed to proceed to the measure. “My sense is the motion to proceed will be successful.”

The tri-partisan measure is sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. and calls for ending U.S. military involvement in the war between a Saudi-led coalition and Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.

Sanders, Lee, and Murphy believe the United States should not be aiding the Saudis in a war that has created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

According to lawmakers, 10,000 civilians have been killed in the war and 40,000 have been wounded. The majority of the population is struggling to avoid starvation.

A large faction of Republican lawmakers is eager to avoid a vote on the War Powers Act because they believe it would set a dangerous precedent that could be applied to any United States ally. At the same time, they are determined to rebuke the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA determined is responsible for the October murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Corker, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and other lawmakers are working behind closed doors to come up with an alternative to the War Powers Resolution that would sanction the crown prince, although Corker would not provide the details of that plan.

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