GOP maneuver will prevent Yemen's bill from getting Senate vote



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Eliot Engel

"It is not surprising that the Republican leaders of the Senate are trying to use every means to thwart the will of Congress and the people," said Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel. | Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

A bill passed by the House to put an end to the US commitment to the deadly civil war in Yemen will not be voted on in the Senate, which will be a setback for Democrats and Republicans who have sought to cut American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

The Senate MP ruled that an amendment to the bill passed by the House, containing wording condemning anti-Semitism, was not "relevant" to the Yemen War Forces Resolution – a decision that allows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to vote on the measure. The legislation initially had a "privileged" status, offering supporters a tour de force around McConnell, who has long opposed the effort.

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"It is not surprising that Republican Senate leaders are trying to use every possible means to thwart the will of Congress and the will of the people. This is shameful, said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). "I have been in this place for 30 years. When there is a will, there is a way. If you want to spend something, you do it. And if you do not want to do it, you find all the excuses under the sun to say why you can not do it. "

House Republicans added the anti-Semitic amendment at the last minute before the resolution was passed. This amendment was adopted earlier in February by 424 votes following the comments of the representative Ilhan Omar (D-Min.) Who were strongly condemned by the legislators of both parties as anti-Semitic.

The final bill was passed between 248 and 177, with a handful of conservative Republicans – including Donald Trump's allies – joining all Democrats to support them.

Despite the parliamentarian's decision, senators are still considering forcing the vote on a clean version of the resolution on the Powers of War of Yemen drafted by Sense. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) And Mike Lee (R-Utah).

A spokesman for Lee, the main Republican sponsor of the Senate's effort, said that "the loss of privileged status had been communicated to our office". A spokeswoman for Murphy said the senator was still considering forcing the vote on the Sanders-Murphy-Lee bill, which will enjoy a privileged status, guaranteeing a full vote.

Republican leaders sharply criticized the resolution and Trump threatened to veto it.

Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Who led the House's efforts, acknowledged that the process will have to be resumed with the Senate's vote in the first place in place of the House.

But Republicans in the House will likely try to add language that condemns anti-Semitism, which would place Democrats in an uncomfortable political position, allowing them to vote "no" on the amendment to ensure that War Power's resolution will be forwarded to Trump's office. If this amendment is adopted, the member of the Senate will meet the same obstacle.

At the last Congress, Republicans inserted a rule change in an unrelated bill that prevented the House from voting on a resolution of the Yemeni Powers of War that was passed by the Senate in December.

Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.

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