NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Republican-controlled U.S. Senate votes to rebuke Donald Trump over Yemen war

This is an encour­ag­ing devel­op­ment:

The Sen­ate vot­ed Wednes­day to end U.S. sup­port for the Sau­di-led mil­i­tary cam­paign in Yemen, its lat­est rebuke of the Trump administration’s con­tin­ued embrace of the Sau­di monar­chy despite grow­ing frus­tra­tion among law­mak­ers with its actions on the world stage. The 54-to-46 vote marks the sec­ond time in recent months that the Sen­ate has reject­ed the Unit­ed States’ con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in Sau­di Arabia’s bomb­ing cam­paign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, waged in the name of hold­ing back Iran’s expan­sion in the region.

This is not the first time the U.S. Sen­ate has vot­ed to end U.S. sup­port for Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s uncon­scionable cam­paign of destruc­tion in Yemen; it did so at the end of the last Con­gress. But giv­en that there are now more Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate, it is sig­nif­i­cant that this vote went against Don­ald Trump… Indi­vid­ual Num­ber One.

Sev­en Repub­li­cans crossed over to sup­port the mea­sure, S.J.Res. 7 As Amend­ed, includ­ing Lisa Murkows­ki of Alas­ka and Steve Daines of Mon­tana.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Aye: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Lisa Murkows­ki (AK) and Steve Daines (MT)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (ID), Dan Sul­li­van (AK)

The oth­er Repub­li­cans to vote aye were Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, Jer­ry Moran of Kansas, Rand Paul of Ken­tucky, and Todd Young of Indi­ana.

Top Repub­li­cans Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn vot­ed against the res­o­lu­tion.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Chris Mur­phy of Con­necti­cut hailed the out­come.

“I start­ed rais­ing the alarm about this issue four years ago, and I was a lone­ly voice in Wash­ing­ton [D.C.]. When Sen­a­tor Paul and I first brought up an effort to block arms sales to Sau­di Ara­bia, only about a quar­ter of the Sen­ate vot­ed in favor.”

“We’ve come a long way since then. Sen­a­tors from both par­ties have made clear that the Saud­is can’t take their alliance with the Unit­ed States for grant­ed. The Sau­di-led war in Yemen has caused 85,000 chil­dren to starve to death.”

“85,000 chil­dren.”

“Today we said enough – enough with this dis­as­trous and uncon­sti­tu­tion­al war, enough with facil­i­tat­ing this human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter, enough with giv­ing the Saud­is a blank check. I hope the Sau­di lead­er­ship is pay­ing atten­tion.”

“Today the Sen­ate sent a strong mes­sage that only Con­gress is allowed to decide if our coun­try goes to war. Not the Pres­i­dent. Not the Pen­ta­gon. Not defense con­trac­tors. I’m proud to work with Bernie Sanders on the War Pow­ers Res­o­lu­tion to end the civ­il war on Yemen,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ro Khan­na, the point per­son in the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus for end­ing the war in Yemen.

Khan­na says the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will take up the res­o­lu­tion soon. (The House recent­ly passed its own sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tion.) The House, which is now under Demo­c­ra­t­ic man­age­ment, eas­i­ly has the votes to pass S.J.Res. 7 As Amend­ed.

It is thus des­tined to end up on Trump’s desk, where it will be sure­ly be vetoed. But it is sig­nif­i­cant and impor­tant that Con­gress — both hous­es of Con­gress — will have vot­ed to rebuke Trump’s abus­es of pow­er.

(The Sen­ate is expect­ed to vote tomor­row to ter­mi­nate Trump’s fake nation­al emer­gency, which will force him to issue his first veto. The Yemen res­o­lu­tion will prob­a­bly end up being the sec­ond veto.)

NPI con­grat­u­lates the Sen­ate on S.J.Res. 7. It is sore­ly need­ed. How­ev­er, it’s still appalling that most Repub­li­cans con­tin­ue to put their par­ty ahead of coun­try. This could have and should have been an over­whelm­ing bipar­ti­san vote.

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