House lawmakers push Yemen resolution as Senate nears vote

A bipartisan pair of congressmen is trying again to force a vote on U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen’s civil war before the end of the year, as the Senate is poised to take similar action.

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales Bipartisan House duo unveils amendment to block Iran strike without Congress's approval Sanders unveils student debt plan amid rivalry with Warren MORE (D-Calif.) recently reintroduced a War Powers Resolution that would remove U.S. forces from hostilities in Yemen except to fight terrorism as allowed by the 2001 war authorization.

A Democratic aide said Khanna and Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThis week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive House conservative's procedural protest met with bipartisan gripes Trump signs long-awaited .1B disaster aid bill MORE (R-Ky.), the lead Republican co-sponsor, “will be pushing for floor action by the end of the year,” with Massie helping to whip Republican support.

A spokeswoman for Massie said the congressman is gathering signatures on a letter to send to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBooker prepping for first 2020 debate with bicep curls Democratic debates: What the top candidates need to do Paul Ryan praises Trump: 'He's not taking any crap' MORE (R-Wis.) requesting a “clean vote” on the resolution.

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“We ask you to uphold the Constitution and the War Powers Act by allowing H. Con. Res. 142 to receive an up-or-down vote,” a draft of the letter says.

The letter has five co-signers so far: Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Rod Blum (Iowa), Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesGOP women's super PAC blasts 'out of touch' candidate in NC runoff GOP amps up efforts to recruit women candidates The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE (N.C.), Raúl Labrador (Idaho) and Bill PoseyWilliam (Bill) Joseph Posey Biz groups target Florida voters ahead of Democratic debates in Miami Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote Senators call on McConnell to bring net neutrality rules to a vote MORE (Fla.).

Momentum for action on the civil war in Yemen, where the U.S. military is supporting a Saudi-led coalition, has been driven recently by lawmakers searching for a way to respond to the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Because the resolution invokes the War Powers Act, it is privileged, meaning Khanna could theoretically force a vote on it.

But Khanna has been stymied in his efforts before. Earlier this year, Khanna introduced the same resolution, but Republicans used a procedural move to strip it of its privileged status, effectively blocking a vote.

Asked whether Ryan will bring the latest resolution for a vote or strip it of its privileged status, spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in an email that “the House has already acted on this question.”

Now, though, the Senate is poised to pass a similar resolution. Late last month, the upper chamber voted 63-37 to advance the resolution.

This week, the Senate is expected to vote to proceed to the resolution, followed by a vote to limit amendments and then a vote on passage. Supporters and opponents of the resolution both think it has the 51 votes needed to pass.

The Democratic House aide said that if the resolution passes the Senate and “a lot of Republicans get on board,” then “we expect the House to follow suit.”

The House is also scheduled to receive a briefing on Saudi Arabia and Yemen on Thursday morning, which could drive support in the chamber. Senators emerged livid from similar briefing hours before they voted to advance their resolution.

Khanna and other House Democrats have previously said they plan to revive his resolution when their party controls the chamber in January. 

Asked at a news conference last week what Democrats could do next year, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House Pelosi: Congress will receive election security briefing in July Trump says he spoke to Pelosi, McConnell on border package MORE (D-Calif.) cited the Khanna resolution and a separate resolution to end arms sales to the Saudis, but added “let's see after the briefing where we go.”