Senate Backs Sanders-Sponsored Resolution to End Military Aid to Saudi Arabia | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
Senate Backs Sanders-Sponsored Resolution to End Military Aid to Saudi Arabia


Sen. Bernie Sanders - FILE: ERIC TADSEN
  • File: Eric Tadsen
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that calls for the end of all U.S. military involvement in Saudi Arabia's ongoing war in Yemen.

The 56-41 vote on Thursday afternoon was a rebuke of Saudi Arabia over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated inside the country's embassy in Turkey. Because the U.S. House has blocked debate of the resolution, the Senate vote was largely symbolic.

President Donald Trump has refused to condemn the killing, which the Central Intelligence Agency determined was likely ordered by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

In a statement Wednesday before the vote, Sanders said Khashoggi’s killing was one of many human rights abuses by the Saudi government.

“The Saudi intervention in Yemen has created the worst humanitarian disaster in the world, with millions of people facing imminent starvation,” Sanders said in the statement. “The time is long overdue for the United States to stop following the lead of Saudi Arabia, a brutal regime that recently murdered a dissident journalist and has no respect for human rights.”
The Senate vote is a foreign policy win for Sanders, who is considering a presidential run in 2020. He was repeatedly criticized during his 2016 presidential campaign for his lack of focus on foreign policy issues. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was a cosponsor of Sanders' resolution and gave a speech in support of it on the Senate floor Thursday.

"If the Saudi royal family hopes to salvage its tattered reputation and relations with the United States, it will need to take far more decisive action to end the war in Yemen and bring to justice all those responsible for murdering Jamal Khashoggi," Leahy said.

The resolution is unlikely to move past the Senate, the Washington Post reports, because House Republican leaders snuck language that bars consideration of any such resolutions into an unrelated vote on an agricultural bill. Five House Democrats voted with Republicans in order to block the debate.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) voted against Wednesday's proposal that blocked the Yemen resolutions and is cosponsor of a House resolution similar to the one that passed the Senate.