Bill to end support for Yemen war clears US House

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday that would require President Donald Trump to halt U.S. assistance for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The bill will now head to the Senate for consideration following the 248-177 vote.

“Today is historic. This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen,” Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, who spearheaded the bill, said in a statement after the vote.”I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role,” he added. If the War Powers Resolution — in part a response to Saudi Arabia’s killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi — is able to clear the Senate, it will head to Trump’s desk, where it will likely be vetoed. The White House has previously threatened the measure.

Regardless, if it clears the Senate, it would mark the first time federal lawmakers checked a president’s authority to use military force under a 1973 bill intended to allow Congress to do so if a president committed forces without a formal declaration of war. A measure similar to the one that cleared the House Wednesday had passed the Republican-held Senate 56 to 41 in December.

It failed to clear the legislature last year when the then-Republican House leadership blocked it from progressing. The chamber has since switched hands, allowing for the revamped measure to clear the House.If Trump does issue a veto of the legislation, it would be the first time he has done so in his presidency. While Khashoggi’s death certainly plays a role in the bill’s congressional momentum, so too does Yemen’s spiraling humanitarian catastrophe.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of countries against Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began the year prior. The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has devastated the country’s infrastructure, including its health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.

Source: Anadolu Agency