Tags: Middle East | saudi | support | cut | yemen | congress | magnitsky

Backers of Cutting Off Saudi Support in Yemen Predict Win Despite WH Opposition

Backers of Cutting Off Saudi Support in Yemen Predict Win Despite WH Opposition
A Yemeni child stands amidst debris of a building destroyed in Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa on February 1, 2019.(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 18 February 2019 07:57 PM

Supporters of a measure to cut off U.S. support to Saudi Arabia in Yemen are reportedly predicting victory when the Senate takes up a House-passed resolution — despite White House opposition.

The resolution needs a simple majority for a procedural vote and subsequent final passage, The Hill reported.

“I think we’re going to win,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who expects to force a vote on the resolution later this month or in early March, The Hill reported.

Co-sponsor Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told The Hill he expects the vote will be held shortly after lawmakers return from their Presidents Day recess, noting, “There’s not a lot of reason to wait.”

The resolution would require President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. forces in or “affecting” Yemen within 30 days unless they’re fighting al Qaeda or associated forces.

The Senate passed a similar resolution in December. The now Democratic-controlled House voted to approve the measure last week, sending it to the Senate.

Days before the House vote, the White House threatened to veto the resolution, arguing it’s “flawed” because U.S. forces are not directly engaged in combat in Yemen’s civil war and that an expansive definition of hostilities could harm other bilateral defense cooperation agreements, The Hill noted.

The United States supports the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen’s four-year-old civil war. 

Though Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, two seats more than in December, seven Republicans sided with Democrats last year — and supporters hope they’ll help pass the measure again, The Hill reported.

“There’s no reason for people to change their vote,” Murphy told The Hill, adding: “This is heading toward a bigger vote.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year invoked the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to require Trump to determine whether members of the Saudi royal family, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were responsible for killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi and should in turn be sanctioned.

And Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, indicated the administration’s handling of that request will affect how he votes, telling The Hill, “I will look for the report coming from the Magnistky Act in order to help inform my decision.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who’s been among the most vocal critics of Riyadh since Khashoggi’s slaying, was also unhappy by the Magnitsky response.

But he told The Hill last week he won’t vote for the war powers resolution, saying “never have, never will.” 

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Supporters of a measure to cut off U.S. support to Saudi Arabia in Yemen are reportedly predicting victory when the Senate takes up a House-passed resolution - despite White House opposition....
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2019-57-18
Monday, 18 February 2019 07:57 PM
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