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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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