WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s veto of legislation requiring the removal of U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen survived a Senate vote to override Thursday.
The override vote was 53-45, with two senators not voting. That is 14 votes short of the two-thirds margin of the Senate needed to vote to override the April 16 veto.
The Senate passed the measure on a 54-46 vote in March and the House followed with a 247-175 vote in early April. It was the first time Congress invoked the War Powers Act, which restricts the duration and shape of a foreign U.S military deployment that gets underway without receiving a declaration of war by Congress.
The resolution required the withdrawal within 30 days of U.S. military forces in or “affecting” Yemen unless they are fighting al Qaeda.
Pentagon officials have strongly opposed the resolution, saying it would limit U.S. influence on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as they engage in the Yemen war.
Trump’s veto of the War Powers Resolution was the second of his presidency. The first was the legislation to reverse his declaration of a national emergency in order to shift funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which he vetoed earlier this year.
Lawmakers from both parties have grown increasingly opposed to the U.S.-Saudi relationship, especially with a fuller awareness of the close business relationship between Trump’s family and Saudi officials.
Additionally, many House and Senate members remain furious at what they perceive as the weak White House response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, orchestrated by Saudi officials .
Yemen’s civil war started in 2014 when Houthi rebels captured Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. The Houthis are supported by Iran; the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition is battling them — in theory — on behalf of the Yemen government.
At least 6,800 civilians have been killed and 10,700 injured in the war, with 22 million people in need of humanitarian aid, and a cholera outbreak that has infected 1.2 million people, the United Nations has said. U.N. agencies have reported that 14 million Yemenis face famine.