The U.S. Senate passed a resolution Wednesday to end American support for the Saudi-led, U.N.-backed coalition in Yemen, issuing a challenge to President Donald Trump to use his first veto of his Presidency.
The bill, entitled “A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress,” passed by a 54-46 vote.
If President Trump vetos the bill, two thirds of Senators must vote to override the veto, so 13 Senators who voted against the bill would need to change their vote, an unlikely outcome despite the bi-partisan nature of the bill. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), have led the effort in the Senate to pass the bill.
The bill deals only with U.S. support of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, which is already limited to logistic support. The bill is likely to pass the U.S. House, which is newly-controlled by the Democratic party.
In his confirmation hearing last week, Trump’s choice to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, faced tough questions over the ongoing war in Yemen and U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in the wake of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But the former head of CENTCOM defended the U.S.-Saudi relationship and said the United States needed “a strong and mature partnership with Saudi Arabia.”
In a statement Wednesday threatening a veto, the White House argued that the measure “would harm bilateral relationships in the region,” according to CNBC.