The House voted again on Thursday to end the U.S. role in Yemen’s war, finally sending a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk and potentially setting up the second veto of his presidency.
The 247-175 vote, largely along party lines, is a sign that Democrats will continue to try and hold Trump accountable for his close relationship to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and congressional Republicans will largely line up to try and protect him.
The House passed a similar resolution last month, but Republicans stalled its progress with a procedural trick. On a motion to recommit the bill, Republicans attached entirely unrelated language about Israel and anti-Semitism, baiting the Democrats to vote for it. The Senate parliamentarian then ruled that the language would “de-privilege” the resolution, meaning that Democrats could no longer bypass committee and force a floor vote. The result was that both chambers of Congress had to pass the resolution again.
But on Thursday, Democrats blocked a similar motion. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, called the Republican motion a “cynical, political ploy” and a “charade of a motion,” and it was defeated.
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., the sponsor of the bill in the House, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, put out a joint statement celebrating the vote.
“This is the first time in the history of this nation that a War Powers Resolution has passed the House and Senate and made it to the president’s desk. Despite the many procedural roadblocks deployed in both chambers to block this resolution, commitment to human rights and Congressional responsibility prevailed,” said Khanna and Sanders. “Finally, the U.S. Congress has reclaimed its constitutional authority over matters of war and peace.”
Frustration with Saudi Arabia has been at an all-time high on Capitol Hill since October, when Saudi agents killed Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was an outspoken critic of the crown prince, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Progressive groups celebrated the vote as a major victory.
“Today’s vote was a historic victory for those of us who believe you cannot bomb your way to peace,” said Stephen Miles, director of the D.C.-based progressive group, Win Without War. “Regardless of what Donald Trump does next, we just showed the power of the American people demanding and winning change from the broken status quo of our failed foreign policy.”