Their action was the latest salvo in an ongoing battle between the U.S. Congress and the White House over control of military conflicts. U.S. troops aren't engaged in combat against the Houthis but the United States has been providing refueling support for Saudi and Emirati bombers since the Barack Obama administration.
US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen is under scrutiny from an anti-establishment coalition of conservative and progressive lawmakers led by Sens. It also points to a specific law - section 2 (c) of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 - which says that the USA president can approve engagement in combat overseas "only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces".
There are multiple unauthorized wars going on, of course, but recent United States presidents have argued that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) could vaguely be interpreted to cover them. Yemen war critics, however, are quick to point out a surge in anti-war activism from Tea Party and Libertarian-leaning groups as well.
Bernie Sanders called the conflict in Yemen "unconstitutional and unauthorized" and joined two other senators in unveiling plans on Wednesday to use a decades-old law to force a Senate vote on whether to pull the country out of the civil war in Yemen.
Three senators have proposed a resolution that will force the Senate to vote on U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen.
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When Khanna made a similar argument in the House, House leadership successfully fought to keep Khanna's resolution from coming to the floor until he agreed to make it nonbinding and emphasize Iran's support for the Houthis.
USA military support for the Saudi-led war began under the Obama administration, but received little opposition at the time. And while the resolution was passed, it was not implemented.
Since 2015, Washington has provided weapons, intelligence and aerial refueling for a Saudi-led coalition which has conducted air strikes against Huthi rebels.
The War Powers Resolution, passed in reaction to United States involvement in Vietnam, requires the commander-in-chief to consult Congress when sending United States combat troops into an armed conflict.
"Support for this intervention began under a Democratic president and has continued under a Republican president". But recent administrations, through the use of drone strikes and so-called special operators, have expanded the interpretation of when a commander-in-chief can send United States troops overseas.