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In Historic First, Senate Invokes War Powers Act

Calls for US to end support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen war; 2nd vote condemns prince
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2018 9:25 AM CST
Updated Dec 13, 2018 3:45 PM CST
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, speaks to reporters after a closed-door security briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Dec. 4, 2018.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The Senate on Thursday sent what the Washington Post described as a historic rebuke to the White House over Saudi Arabia. Actually, it delivered two rebukes. First, senators voted 56-41 to invoke the War Powers Act and demand that the US end its military support of the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war, per the Hill. Neither the Senate nor the House has ever invoked the 1973 act previously. The Senate also voted—unanimously—to condemn Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and called on the Saudi government to "ensure appropriate accountability," reports the AP. The details.

  • Only symbolic? Though historic, it's unlikely the war resolution can pass the House this year. That chamber already has moved to effectively make passage impossible in 2018, reports the Weekly Standard. And even if it did pass, President Trump would likely veto it. Democrats could re-introduce it in 2019, however.
  • Why? Mounting reports of war atrocities and the killing of Khashoggi led to bipartisan anger among senators, per NPR. Seven Republicans bucked Trump on the war vote, including co-sponsor Mike Lee of Utah. Among other things, the legislation forbids the American refueling of Saudi jets and orders the US to scale back its military presence in the region, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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