Tuesday: A Senate Roll Call on Saudi Arabia's War and Yemen's Famine

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Tuesday: A Senate Roll Call on Saudi Arabia's War and Yemen's Famine

A Saudi soldier at the border with Yemen, fired a mortar shell toward Houthi rebels in 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

With the Senate, it's always hard to know for sure when a vote will be. But the latest reports are that a Senate vote on Trump's Saudi arms deal will happen after 2pm ET Tuesday.

This vote is a Senate roll call on U.S. participation in the Saudi-UAE war and blockade on Yemen, which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, with millions of human beings at risk of starvation.  

This is a winnable fight:

1. Last September four Senate Republicans joined twenty-three Senate Democrats to vote against Obama's Saudi tank deal. Three of those four Republicans are still in the Senate: Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Dean Heller. There are now forty-eight Senate Democrats. Forty-eight plus three equals 51. If we can get all or almost all Senate Democrats to vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal plus a handful of Republicans, we can win.

2. Last September, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin - top Democrat on Senate Foreign Relations - voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal. On June 7, Ben Cardin said he would vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal, because Trump doesn't have a plan to end the Saudi war in Yemen and because Trump refused to use his arms deal as leverage to pressure the Saudis to end the war and save Yemen from famine. Ben Cardin's pledge to vote against the deal is a key signal that will help other Senate Democrats vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

3. Last September, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal. On June 7, Merkley co-sponsored the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

4. Senator Feinstein, who voted for Obama's Saudi tank deal last September, and Senator Kaine, who missed the vote, have publicly indicated that they are leaning towards voting with Senator Murphy and Senator Franken this time against Trump's Saudi arms deal.

What will make the most difference now is how many phone calls we can generate to the Senate. We're tallying calls via FCNL's toll-free number: 1-855-68-NO-WAR [1-855-686-6927]. So far more than a thousand people have called, which is a good start. But only a handful of people have called so far from Indiana and West Virginia. We need more calls to the Senate, especially from purple and reddish America.

Here's what I said when I called my Senators: "Vote to save Yemen from Saudi-imposed famine. Vote to support the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal. Make a public statement on how you'll vote."

When you've made your calls, you can report them here.

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Robert Naiman

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. You can contact him here.

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