By Safvan Allahverdi
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday rejected a resolution that sought to terminate Washington’s support for Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen.
The Senate voted 55-44 against the resolution, which was introduced three weeks ago by Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Senators Mike Lee and Chris Murphy to end American military assistance in the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign against Houthi rebels.
Sanders had argued that U.S. participation in the Yemeni campaign has never been explicitly authorized by Congress as required by law.
Thousands of Yemeni civilians have died and millions have been displaced due to the Saudi-led coalition's attacks.
"No provision of law explicitly authorizes the provision of targeting assistance or of midair refueling services to warplanes of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates that are engaged in such conflict," he added.
The bipartisan resolution was the latest congressional attempt to check the presidential exercise of military force abroad.
Such missions are constitutionally required to receive congressional approval and successive wars have been fought under what critics call dubious authorizations.
Yemen is the latest such example where U.S. forces provide logistical and intelligence support to a Saudi-led coalition of largely Gulf nations fighting to oust Houthi rebels from what was already the Arab world's poorest nation before the conflict began.
Pressure has mounted as Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe has worsened over the course of the three-year campaign.
But Senate leaders along with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker opposed the proposal because it would damage the U.S. partnership with the Saudis.
The Senate’s rejection means the controversial policy will continue.
The move came after President Donald Trump met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House earlier in the day.