The US Senate has offered a strong bipartisan rebuke to President Donald Trump by voting to end the country's involvement in the Saudi Arabia-led proxy war in Yemen. But lawmakers insist the resolution would also require Trump to end intelligence sharing and targeting support for the Saudis by defining those activities as "hostilities" under the War Powers Act.
"Congressional authority over war was created to avoid the type of situation that's been unfolding in Yemen, where unauthorized USA military support began without public debate or scrutiny", Martin said. Should it manage to successfully pass through both the Senate and the House, it would be the first time that lawmakers have tapped on the act to cease USA military involvement in a foreign conflict. Now, the US provides logistics intelligence support, which officials say chiefly helps limit civilian casualties.
Many lawmakers have taken issue with the number of civilian deaths in Yemen's conflict and have been calling for an end of USA military support ever since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October. Mike Lee, R- Utah.
It is now expected to be voted on in the US House of Representatives.
Sen. Mike Lee has long called for the end of US involvement, saying in a speech past year that continuing to support the Saudis, especially in light of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is "bad diplomacy".
Trump has held back on criticizing Saudi Arabia, calling them an important strategic ally and counterbalance to Iran in the region.
Seven of Trump's fellow Republicans sided with Democrats in passing the measure 54-46. Lawmakers from both parties have called for a reappraisal of the U.S. -Saudi relationship and accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi's murder, even as Trump has stood by him.
Sanders, using unusually blunt language about an American ally, said the United States should not "simply follow the despotic lead of a government in Saudi Arabia".
"We need to stay engaged with the limited engagement that we have", said Senator Jim Risch, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
A statement from the administration said the bill "seeks to override the president's determination as commander in chief" and will "establish bad precedent".
Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, argued that US support for the Saudi-led coalition helps facilitate peace talks and withdrawing from the conflict would delay an eventual political settlement.
The resolution is a reminder that Congress has the legal ability to compel the removal of USA military forces, absent a formal declaration of war.
US Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) recently told Washington-based publication The Hill that the vote could be "tight", but that the measure would be able to gain the required amount of vote to pass. "Now that the new Senate has passed the resolution, the House needs to pass the same clean version of the resolution to finally send it to the president's desk".
This decisive vote will end "the American facilitation of the Yemen war and the world's largest humanitarian crises".