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House Wields Vietnam-Era Power in Rebuking Trump

Lawmakers pass a bill regarding the war in Yemen
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2019 5:30 PM CST
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks with reporters to a Democratic Caucus meeting the morning after President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday,...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The new Democratic-led House sent President Trump a message Wednesday, and it's a doozy: Stop supporting Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Lawmakers easily passed the measure, 248-177, in a display of frustration over the war's humanitarian crisis and Washington's ongoing ties to Riyadh after journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death, the AP reports. "This is their opportunity to send a message to the Saudis that their behavior on Khashoggi and their flagrant disregard of human rights is not consistent with the American way of doing business and not in line with American values," Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat, tells the New York Times—which notes that the nearly four-year-old war has triggered a crushing famine and left thousands of Yemeni civilians dead.

Passed with 18 Republican votes, the measure now heads to the Senate and could lead to the first veto of Trump's presidency. For their part, Republicans say Washington is hardly in the war anyway, only providing logistical, targeting, and intelligence aid in the proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, per USA Today. An interesting aside: The House passed the measure using the 1973 War Powers Act, a power created after the Vietnam War to keep the president from starting or increasing military engagement. Meanwhile, senators from both parties are proposing what amounts to a rebuke of Trump's Russia policies—a bill that would force his administration to gauge whether Russia sponsors state terror, and mandate a two-thirds Senate vote if Trump wants to pull out of NATO, CNN reports. (See what the Pope has to say about Yemen.)

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