Senate moves toward vote on ending support for Saudi-led war

The Senate on Wednesday moved toward voting to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.
 
Senators voted 60-39 to formally begin debate on the resolution, which would require President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE to withdraw troops in or "affecting" Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda.
 
If senators approve the resolution it would mark a significant rebuke of Trump, who told Reuters this week that he was standing by the Saudi government and believed it had been a "very good ally." 
 
Senators had been expected to hold a final vote on the bill on Wednesday, but as of Wednesday evening they were still haggling over potential amendment votes. The delay isn't expected to impact final passage of the vote, which is now expected to take place on Thursday.
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"We still have the votes to pass; I think they're still just figuring out amendments," Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocratic Sen. Chris Murphy announces book on gun violence Lawmakers join Nats Park fundraiser for DC kids charity Democrats look to demonize GOP leader MORE (D-Conn.), who is sponsoring the resolution along with Sens. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Cardi B posts message of support for Ilhan Omar #IStandWithIlhan trends after crowd at Trump rally chants 'send her back' MORE (I-Vt.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeFirst responder calls senators blocking 9/11 victim funding 'a--holes' Jon Stewart rips into Rand Paul after he blocks 9/11 victim compensation fund: 'An abomination' Senate approves long-delayed tax treaties in win for business MORE (R-Utah), told The Hill when asked about the delay. 
 
Because supporters are bringing up the Yemen resolution under the War Powers Act they only need a simple majority to get it through the Senate. Eleven Republican sided with all 49 Democrats to start debate on the measure on Wednesday.
 
To prevent a lengthy, unwieldy fight on the Senate floor, senators also voted 96-3 to require that any amendments to the resolution be on topic. Under Senate rules lawmakers can debate the resolution for up to 10 hours before a final vote. 
 
The Senate votes comes as frustration is mounting on Capitol Hill over the U.S.-Saudi relationship, with a growing number of senators convinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the slaying of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. 
 
“I’ve sat at a very, very detailed, very detailed intelligence review of what happened with the journalist, the consulate in Turkey, and I absolutely believe if the crown prince came before a jury here in the United States of America, he would be convicted guilty in under 30 minutes,” said 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.), who is opposing the Yemen resolution. “I absolutely believe is directed it. I believe he monitored it and I believe he is responsible for it.”
 
But most Republicans are expected to oppose the Yemen resolution, which they worry is a misuse of the War Powers Act.
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime MORE (R-Ky.) urged his colleagues to oppose the Lee-Sanders resolution on Wednesday while acknowledging members have "legitimate concerns" about Yemen and share "grave concerns" about Khashoggi's death.

He added that the dynamic presents "challenging circumstances" but "the Sanders-Lee resolution is neither precise enough or prudent enough.” Instead, he publicly threw his support behind a forthcoming resolution from Corker.

Corker has been negotiating for days with Senate leadership on the resolution, in the hopes that it could get a Senate vote as soon as this week. An overwhelming vote, he hopes, would pressure House leadership to quickly pass it before the end of the year.

“A strong denouncing of a crown prince and holding them responsible for the murder of a journalist. It’s a pretty strong statement for the United States Senate to be making, assuming we can get a vote on it,” Corker told reporters this week.