The Senate on Thursday fell short of the votes needed to override President Trump’s veto of legislation demanding an end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military coalition operating in Yemen, a country plagued by more than four years of a devastating civil war.

The measure, sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, passed both the Senate and the House this year, with the support of all Democrats, seven Republican senators, and 18 House Republicans. It sought to use Congress’ war powers to curtail U.S. logistical and intelligence support for the coalition, which backs Yemen’s exiled government and its fight against the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran.

The measure gained support among lawmakers after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last fall, which American intelligence officials believe was ordered by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

But Trump — who has been criticized for his continued embrace of Saudi leaders in the wake of Khashoggi’s death — used the second veto of his presidency to block it.

The measure found some support among Republicans troubled by the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen, where more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation, and those frustrated by the lack of clear congressional authorization for participation in the conflict. But most Republican lawmakers objected to using Congress’ war powers to end what amounts to a support operation.

Under pressure, the Trump administration late last year scaled back U.S. involvement, halting an aerial refueling mission for Saudi warplanes. And this year, the administration issued sanctions against several Saudi officials in response to Khashoggi’s killing.

But lawmakers remain upset that the administration has ignored deadlines to hear from the president about whether other officials, including the Saudi crown prince, should be held responsible for the journalist’s death, and whether the Saudis are taking sufficient action to end Yemen’s civil war.


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