"Today, we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional power by ending United States involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional", Senator Bernie Sanders, who is a presidential candidature for the 2020 elections, said on the Senate floor. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Supporters of the measure, on the one hand, said that the U.S. should not be involved in the Yemen conflict without explicit permission from Congress. Opponents, on the other hand, argued that the U.S. does not have boots on the ground and is offering noncombat technical assistance to its ally Saudi Arabia, according to CNN. "Lastly and not leastly important, the United States Congress is going to reassert its constitutional responsibility over issues of war that has been abdicated to presidents - Democrats and Republicans - for too many years".
Lee was among seven Republicans who joined all members of the Democratic Caucus in backing the bill.
The Senate resolution, an unprecedented attempt to curtail presidential powers, seeks to end U.S. military involvement in the conflict within 30 days.
This is the second time in months a bill on pulling US forces from the military conflict has been voted on in the US Senate - last December's move later stalled in the then Republican-led Congress. "The Senate's vote to end the USA role in Yemen is also a vote to re-democratize our nation's foreign policy".
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of CT hailed the outcome.
A Saudi-led effort has targeted Yemen's Houthi rebels in an attempt to hold back Iran's expansion in the area.
It now goes to the House, which approved its own similar measure this year, only to have the process stall over a procedural issue.
Wednesday's resolution will be considered in the now Democrat-led House of Representatives.
"Most of the advocacy around this war in the USA has focused on what we want the U.S.to stop doing - refuelling, selling arms, blocking Security Council actions, etc. ..." In addition to arms, USA military experts have acted as advisers to the Saudi and Emirati command centres in Riyadh and elsewhere, and a US pullout could also impact intelligence gathering. The conflict has killed thousands and left millions on the brink of starvation, creating what the United Nations called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Murphy said that after the Senate voted for a similar resolution past year, the warring parties in Yemen moved towards a cease fire.
But the White House has promised a veto on whatever emerges, and Wednesday's vote signals there's more than enough support for the president to sustain that.
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