Senators Will Vote on Pulling Troops Out of Yemen, But When

Resolution could reach the floor this week, if there’s time

Sen. Mike Lee is said to be eager to get a vote on the Yemen resolution this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. Mike Lee is said to be eager to get a vote on the Yemen resolution this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 12, 2018 at 4:51pm

A resolution that would direct the withdrawal of U.S. forces from ongoing hostilities in Yemen is ripe for Senate action, but the clogged calendar means supporters might not immediately get it to the floor.

The question may be how to shoehorn the measure on to the schedule before the next recess.

The resolution uses the expedited procedures under the War Powers Resolution, meaning now that 10 calendar days have passed since introduction on Feb. 28, the resolution could be subject to a motion to discharge it from the Foreign Relations Committee.

Under the rules, 10 hours of debate would be allowed on the Senate floor.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced the measure with lead support from Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy and Republican Mike Lee of Utah.

Lee’s office said Monday it would be eager to get the resolution to a floor vote this week, if possible. That is because next week appears socked with debate on an omnibus spending bill to keep the discretionary accounts of the government funded for the remainder of fiscal 2018.

“This horror is caused in part by our decision to facilitate a bombing campaign that is murdering children, and to endorse a Saudi strategy inside Yemen that is deliberately using disease and starvation and the withdrawal of humanitarian support as a tactic,” Murphy said in a statement at the time the senators unveiled the resolution.

There is no timeline for calling up the Yemen resolution this week in part because of the procedural hurdles on a banking regulatory rollback that have taken longer than advocates for the measure would have hoped.

A debate-limiting vote on a substitute amendment from the sponsor of that bill, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, is set for 5:30 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also filed cloture to limit debate on the underlying bill and the nomination of Kevin K. McAleenan to be commissioner of Customs and Border Protection for floor action this week.

Those three procedural votes and the accompanying 30 hours of post-cloture debate on each one might exhaust the week, assuming senators will be eager to wrap up at what has become the customary time on Thursday afternoon.

Lee, Sanders and Murphy could try to force the Senate to hold a rare Friday legislative session for the Yemen debate.

While that might get a lot of eyeballs, it might also frustrate colleagues. That means the resolution could wait until next week, or until after the two-week recess for Passover and Easter.

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