Senate rebukes Trump on Saudi, backs war powers resolution

FILE PHOTO: A Yemeni soldier is pictured near a poster portraying Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Yemen's President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi outside a hospital renovated by Saudi Arabia in Aden, Yemen December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Nael Shyoukhi/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-led U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a resolution seeking to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen, in a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s policy toward the kingdom.

The vote was 54-46 in the Senate, more than the 51 needed to pass in the 100-member Senate. The war powers resolution seeks to end any U.S. military involvement in the conflict, including providing targeting support for Saudi air strikes, without authorization from Congress.

The four-year-long civil war in Yemen, which pits the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels backed by Iran, has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world’s most dire humanitarian crisis, with the country on the brink of famine.

Backers of the resolution, including a handful of Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, argued that U.S. involvement in Yemen violates the constitutional requirement that Congress, not the president, should determine when the country goes to war.

The resolution must still be approved by the House of Representatives to be sent to the White House, which said earlier on Wednesday that Trump plans a veto. It would be the first of his two-year-long presidency.

Democrats and Republicans reintroduced the resolution two weeks ago as a way to send a strong message to Riyadh about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen. Many lawmakers also want to push Trump to demand a stronger response from the Saudi government to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey in October.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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