In a major step toward ending USA complicity in the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the Senate on Wednesday passed a War Powers resolution to cut off American military support for the Saudi-led coalition's assault on Yemen.
It was also a significant coup for Sen. A two-thirds majority vote by both chambers of Congress would be needed to override a possible Trump veto. Some Senate Republicans this week plan to vote again Trump's emergency declaration, congressional Republicans backed Trump off a withdrawal of USA troops from Syria last month, and the House passed a resolution in January to bar a US exit from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
"The bottom line is the United States should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with a risky and irresponsible foreign policy", Mr. Sanders said.
Romney said the US now provides limited support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, including intelligence-sharing and advice on compliance with the laws of war.
The U.S. has provided refueling for Saudi coalition aircraft, but that ended previous year after the Saudi regime was implicated in the murder of one of its citizens, journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Danny Burch, a former U.S. hostage in Yemen, during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 6, 2019.
No American troops are involved, leaving the White House and others to question whether the resolution would have any effect.
"Today, we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional power by ending USA involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional", Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president in 2020 and is a sponsor of the measure, said on the Senate floor. Assistance for Yemen, though, has never been directly approved by Congress.
It would also be another strong rebuke of President Donald Trump's support for Saudi Arabia, which has been a point of tension with Congress since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi past year. "We must end the war in Yemen". "Pulling the plug on support to our partners only undermines the very leverage and influence that we need to help facilitate the U.N.'s diplomatic efforts".
The resolution would alienate allies, McConnell said, as the US faces, "real threats from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula".
The Yemen War Powers resolution will now head back to the House of Representatives, the final roadblock before the measure reaches President Donald Trump's desk. It passed a similar one last month. "In too many cases our weapons are being used to kill civilians".
"I voted against this resolution because I am concerned it would set a precedent that would negatively impact our security partnerships around the world that rely on similar US support", he said in a statement. It would be the first measure passed by Congress to invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution to directly curtail a president's use of military powers.
The resolution is a reminder that Congress has the legal ability to compel the removal of USA military forces, absent a formal declaration of war.
Under the law, the president is required to notify Congress of any commitment of armed forces and requires congressional approval if the hostilities last beyond 60 days. He claimed that didn't meet the threshold of hostilities required to trigger the law.