CA Rep. Ro Khanna
© AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
California Rep. Ro Khanna spearheaded the effort to pass the War Powers resolution that would cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The House on Wednesday passed a bill to halt U.S. involvement in Yemen's civil war - yet another bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump's foreign policy.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where proponents expect it to narrowly pass in the coming weeks before arriving on Trump's desk, setting up the first veto of his presidency.

The War Powers resolution cuts off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition, which is bombing Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The civil war has sparked a humanitarian crisis in the country, including widespread famine and cholera outbreaks.

Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of House Democratic leadership and the Foreign Affairs Committee, said:
"This is a bipartisan effort to not only stop a very horrible conflict that's having devastating consequences and creating a serious humanitarian crisis, but also an important moment for Congress to accept its responsibilities and reassert its role in declarations of war and the use of military force on behalf of the United States."
Senate rules allow the resolution's proponents to bring the measure to the floor without the consent of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has long opposed the resolution.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a progressive who was first elected in 2016, spearheaded the effort. If it clears the Senate, it would be the first time in history that both chambers of Congress used the 1973 War Powers Act to scale back a president's authority on the use of military force.

Senior administration officials have lobbied against the effort, arguing that U.S. involvement in the conflict is crucial to stave off Iranian aggression in the region.

But the Yemen issue is unique because it unites the far left and the far right on Capitol Hill. Every Democrat voted for the legislation; so did 18 Republicans - including many members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus. It cleared the chamber with 248 lawmakers in favor and 177 opposed. Some of the president's key GOP allies broke with him, including Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Before passage, a Republican amendment ensuring the U.S. keeps sharing intelligence with Saudi Arabia was adopted with substantial Democratic support. Although Khanna had opposed that amendment, its passage did not jeopardize the overall effort.

Republicans were also successful in adding a measure to denounce anti-Semitism - which all Democrats backed - amid the uproar over tweets by Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D-Minn.) about Jews that were widely panned as anti-Semitic.

Republicans have been searching for ways to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but they've opposed ending U.S. involvement in Yemen as a way to accomplish that, arguing that the War Powers resolution doesn't apply because the U.S. military is not participating in direct combat operations against the Houthis.

"The president of the United States does have legitimate powers as commander in chief to support friends and allies short of war without congressional approval. That has happened time and time and time again in American history," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said, warning the resolution could damage America's relationships with its allies.

Some Republicans were motivated to vote for the War Powers resolution amid widespread GOP discontent with Trump's continued alignment with Saudi Arabia - including the administration's refusal to send Congress a report assigning blame for Khashoggi's murder.

In the previous Congress, House Republican leaders blocked a vote on a Yemen War Powers measure around the same time that it passed in the Senate with 56 votes. Despite their opposition to the Yemen War Powers resolution, many Republicans have rallied behind legislation that would impose human rights sanctions on Saudi Arabia and end U.S. refueling of Saudi aircraft engaged in the Yemen conflict.

But Democrats claimed victory - however incremental - on Wednesday.

"Today is the day that Congress begins to take back its jurisdiction over war and peace," Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said.