SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's two Republican senators were on opposite sides of a resolution the Senate passed Wednesday to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's bloody civil war.
Sen. Mike Lee has long called for the end of U.S. involvement, saying in a speech last year that continuing to support the Saudis, especially in light of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is "bad diplomacy."
Lee was among seven Republicans who joined all members of the Democratic caucus in backing the bill. He said the vote was a step in the right direction and that he looks forward to the House taking up and passing the resolution
"With passage of this resolution, we have reasserted Congress’ constitutional role over declaring war and over putting American blood and treasure on the line. It is long past time that we end U.S. involvement in this unauthorized, unjustified and immoral war that has caused immense human suffering," Lee said.
Senators viewed the vote as an opportunity to not only reassert Congress’ authority to declare war, but to rebuke the Trump administration over its posture toward Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of Khashoggi's murder, Politico reported.
Sen. Mitt Romney voted against the resolution.
Romney said the U.S. currently provides limited support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, including intelligence-sharing and advice on compliance with the laws of war.9 comments on this story
"I voted against this resolution because I am concerned it would set a precedent that would negatively impact our security partnerships around the world that rely on similar U.S. support," he said in a statement. "By remaining engaged, the U.S. retains influence over the coalition’s actions in Yemen and can continue to press for an end to the conflict."
Romney said while he has concerns about Saudi Arabia's recent behavior, particularly the murder of Khashoggi, ending support would undermine U.S. allies and security interests in the region by emboldening Iran, hampering counterterrorism efforts, and potentially worsening the humanitarian crisis.