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The Senate Passes S.J.Res. 54, 56-41

The passage of the resolution is an important victory in reclaiming Congressional war powers and it is the first vote of its kind under the War Powers Resolution to pass the Senate.
sanders yemen

The Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution, S.J.Res. 54, directs the president to withdraw from the Saudi coalition war. It has passed this afternoon with 56 votes:

The passage of the resolution is an important victory in reclaiming Congressional war powers and it is the first measure of its kind under the War Powers Resolution to pass the Senate. It expresses the American public’s broad opposition to a despicable Yemen policy that has gone on for more than forty-four months, and it represents a dramatic change from March when the same resolution was killed before it ever came to a final vote. Next year when the new Congress begins, the House can take up a similar measure and will almost certainly pass it. Thanks to the determined leadership of the resolution’s original co-sponsors, the support of their colleagues, and the tireless efforts of peace activists, the Senate has finally come out in direct opposition to the war on Yemen. That will place additional political pressure on the administration to end U.S. support, and it will send a message to the Saudis and Emiratis that most Americans are not with them as they destroy and starve Yemen. The White House, Pentagon, and State Department threw everything they had at the Senate in a desperate bid to stop this resolution from passing, and they lost. This is the most significant repudiation of a president on a question of war and peace since the 2013 debate over intervention in Syria, and it is even more significant than that was because the Senate followed through and voted for opposition to U.S. involvement in an ongoing war over the explicit objections of the executive. We are a little closer to ending our shameful participation in an unnecessary war, and opponents of the war prevailed over the cynical and dishonest arguments of the Trump administration and its allies.

Meanwhile, U.N.-sponsored consultations in Sweden have yielded some important agreements that should alleviate some of the civilian population’s misery if they are implemented properly. It remains to be seen how these agreements are implemented and if they hold, and there is still an urgent need for a ceasefire everywhere in the country, but it is a promising start and the first genuinely good news about Yemen in years. This week the U.S. took an important step towards extricating itself from an indefensible war, and the warring parties in Yemen took a first step towards de-escalation and possibly a cessation of hostilities in the future. There is still a very long way to go, and there is still an urgent need to stave off the worst famine in decades, but for once things seem to be moving in the right direction.

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