The United States Senate killed a resolution introduced by Independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Republican Senator Mike Lee to withdraw U.S. military support for the Saudi war in Yemen. By a vote of 55-44, the resolution was tabled. A simple majority was required to kill the resolution.
If ten Democrats who voted to kill the resolution had instead voted no, an extraordinary debate on Saudi Arabia and U.S. support for the war in Yemen would have taken place.
Democratic Senators Christopher Coons, Catherine Cortez Masto, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Doug Jones, Joe Manchin, Robert Menendez, Bill Nelson, Jack Reed, and Sheldon Whitehouse each voted against debating whether to exercise Congress’s war powers under the Constitution.
The outcome was similar to a vote on a resolution introduced by Republican Senator Rand Paul to oppose the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. It failed by four votes, and if five Democrats had not voted to preserve the arms deals, the effort to block $500 million worth of weapons would have prevailed.
Republican Senator Bob Corker, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led the effort to stop the resolution from Sanders and Lee. He was livid that senators invoked the War Powers Act of 1973 to attempt to end U.S. military support for intervention by Saudi Arabia in a war against the Houthis, particularly because it circumvented his authority as the Foreign Relations Committee chair.
Corker said, “Let the Foreign Relations Committee do the work you’ve assigned the committee to do. We’re going to have a hearing.” He mentioned a bipartisan bill apparently in the works on Yemen. He cautioned against allowing a “wild west debate” on war-making powers of the Executive Branch.