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 TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes 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 MurphySenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress eyes changes to small business pandemic aid Top Democrat to introduce bill to limit Trump's ability to fire IGs MORE (D-Conn.), who is sponsoring the resolution along with Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton MORE (I-Vt.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting White House withdraws ATF nominee after GOP pushback Hillicon Valley: Commerce announces new Huawei restrictions | Russian meddling report round five | Google's ad business in spotlight 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 CorkerRomney is only GOP senator not on new White House coronavirus task force McConnell, Romney vie for influence over Trump's trial RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' 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 urges people to wear masks: 'There's no stigma' Frustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Lack of child care poses major hurdle as businesses reopen 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.