Yemen resolution picks up crucial support in Senate

Yemen resolution picks up crucial support in Senate
© Getty Images

A resolution that would force President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's military actions in Yemen is picking up support even after top administration officials lobbied against the measure during a closed-door briefing. 

Multiple senators who previously voted against the same resolution in March emerged from the meeting saying they would support taking it up this time, underscoring the growing frustration with the Saudi government on Capitol Hill. 

Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate committee approves 0 million for state election security efforts Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Bill to return B in unredeemed bonds advances MORE (D-Del.) said he would support the resolution, saying he was dissatisfied by the briefing and calling it a "significant mistake" not to send CIA Director Gina Haspel.

"I think it is more important that the United States continue to demonstrate to the world that we value a free press, that we hold our close allies to high standards and that we will continue to stand for the basic values that define the United States," Coons said. 

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  MORE (R-Ariz.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Female Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado ask DSCC to rescind Hickenlooper endorsement Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines MORE (D-Nev.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezAs NFIP reauthorization deadline looms, Congress must end lethal subsidies Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7 Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-N.J.) also said they would vote in favor of the resolution. Like Coons, they each voted to table the same resolution in March.

ADVERTISEMENT


Menendez called Haspel's absence a "cover-up" and "outrageous," arguing the chamber was being stonewalled. 

"I heard nothing convincing as it relates to why we would not proceed with the Sanders-Lee and others resolution," he said, referring to Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE (R-Utah), two sponsors of the bill. 

The growing support for the resolution is a blow to the administration, which has launched an eleventh-hour effort to squash the resolution. 

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico Trump needs a national security adviser who 'speaks softly' US could deploy 150 troops to Syria: report MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Pentagon waiting for Saudi assessment on attack | Defense bill talks begin | Border fight takes centerstage | Pentagon finalizes .5B in wall contracts | US withholds Afghan aid citing corruption House Armed Services panel gets classified briefing on Saudi attacks US withholds 0M in Afghan aid citing corruption MORE spoke with senators during a briefing Wednesday, warning that if the Senate moved forward with the resolution it would undercut negotiations with Saudi Arabia. 

"I know all too well the difficulty in reconciling human aspirations with war's grim reality; but I also recognize that we cannot limit civilian casualties or advance the peace effort commencing early next month in Sweden by disengaging," Mattis said, according to prepared remarks.

The resolution would require Trump to pull all troops in or “affecting” Yemen within 30 days. It’s expected to get an initial vote as soon as Wednesday afternoon. 

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP MORE (D-Conn.), another sponsor of the resolution, stopped short of predicting success but argued the administration’s briefing didn’t win over any concerned senators. 

"I'm more confident after that briefing that we have the votes," Murphy told reporters.

The same resolution fell six votes short in March. The support coming out of the briefing, as well as Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedNegotiators kick off defense bill talks amid border wall, Iran debates Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Senate Democrats introduce legislation to limit foreign interference in elections MORE’s (D-R.I.) announcement on Tuesday night that he will support the bill puts the resolution on the precipice of having enough votes to at least be brought up on the floor.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, predicted that, absent action from the administration, the Senate would vote to take up the resolution in part because it's amendable, meaning senators could change it on the Senate floor.

"The Yemen resolution is amendable. so the first vote is just to get on it," he told reporters. "We're very likely to support a vehicle that allows us to somehow or another address this."