lucky-photographer/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The House of Representatives has passed a resolution to withdraw U.S. military support for the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition in Yemen, a historic vote that sends a strong rebuke to President Donald Trump’s foreign policy one month after Democrats took control of the chamber.
Similar legislation passed the Senate last November and is expected to succeed again, congressional aides tell ABC News, setting up a showdown with the White House.
If it makes it to the president’s desk, it would be a historic moment in U.S. history — the first time Congress, which has constitutional power to declare war, has used the War Powers Act to pull back American forces from a conflict.
The vote in the House Wednesday was 248 to 177, with 18 Republicans joining Democrats to pass the resolution. A Senate vote is expected in the coming weeks.
The White House lobbied hard in late 2018 to persuade members to kill the resolution, succeeding in the then-Republican controlled House, but failing in the Senate after Republicans were upset about how the administration has handled the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi officials inside the consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Yemen, which is larger than the size of California and home to more than 28 million people on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is on the brink of a massive famine, the scale of which the world has not seen in decades, according to the United Nations. The country has been wracked by civil strife since 2011, which broke out into civil war in 2015.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined the conflict in support of the internationally recognized government of Yemen against Houthi rebels, turning the conflict into a proxy war with the Saudis’ regional foe Iran.
The U.S. has provided military support for that coalition since the start, conducting midair refuels for its warplanes, training and advising troops and aerial targets, selling weapons, and sharing intelligence and reconnaissance. While the Pentagon announced the midair refuels had concluded in Nov. 2018, the other activities have continued.
Both sides in the nearly four-year-old war have been accused of war crimes, but with their more sophisticated militaries, the Saudi-led coalition has been accused of indiscriminately bombing civilians and even targeting civilian infrastructure to exacerbate the humanitarian toll — leading to a rising bipartisan chorus in Congress calling on the U.S. to halt its support.
This is a developing news story. Please check back in for updates.
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