Congress has given final approval on a resolution to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, in an unprecedented attempt to curtail the president’s power to go to war and a sweeping rebuke to Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
The House voted 247 to 175 to send the resolution to the president’s desk, where it is likely to be met with a veto. Sixteen Republicans broke ranks and joined Democrats in the effort. The Senate passed the resolution last month, with seven Republicans voting in favor of it.
The resolution’s passage sets up another confrontation between Congress and Trump, who has already threatened to veto it. The White House has said the resolution raises “serious constitutional concerns”
The vote marks the first time Congress has invoked the 1973 War Powers Act to curb the executive’s power to take the country into a conflict without congressional approval. It is aimed at ending US involvement in the long-running Yemen conflict.
Under intense public and congressional pressure, the Pentagon stopped providing aerial refueling in November for Saudi warplanes on Yemen sorties. Benjamin Friedman, policy director for the Defense Priorities thinktank, said that most of the remaining US involvement in the conflict was in the providing intelligence support for the coalition.
“It will be a mix of intelligence including signals intercepts, overhead surveillance from satellites and aircraft, including drones,” Friedman said. “Exactly just how dependent the Saudis and UAE are on the US is hard to say.”
The war in Yemen, which has just entered its fifth year, is estimated to have killed more than 60,000 people and left millions on the brink of starvation, creating what the UN called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.