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House passes bill to limit U.S. aid for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen

Yemen ceasefire underway in key port city

Washington — In a sharp rebuke to the Trump administration, the House passed a bipartisan resolution that would limit American military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition waging a bloody war against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. 

The bill, which represents an extraordinary step to curtail the White House's war powers, denounced the four-year conflict in the Arabian peninsula that has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians and led to widespread food shortages. 

"If this is not a wake up call for the Saudis I don't know what would be," progressive California Congressman Ro Khanna said before the vote.  

The resolution — which passed by a 248 to 177 vote — has garnered bipartisan support on Capitol Hill in part because many lawmakers are angry at the White House for refusing to issue a report on whether the Saudi royal family was responsible for the gruesome murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashogghi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. The administration missed a Feb. 7 reporting deadline stemming from the Global Magnitsky Act, which gave President Trump 120 days to make a determination and state whether the U.S. would sanction anyone deemed responsible for the murder. 

The bill will now head to the Senate. A similar measure passed the Republican-controlled chamber during the last Congress by a 56 to 41 vote when seven Republican senators broke with the White House and crossed the aisle to vote with their Democratic colleagues. 

Two weeks ago, the White House issued a veto threat against the resolution, saying in a statement of administration policy that the "premise of the joint resolution is flawed" and that U.S. assistance to the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen is "limited."

Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.