An international conflict group reported this week that casualties of the war in Yemen has surpassed 60,000 since 2016, the Associated Press reports.
The big picture: While the war rages on and the death toll climbs, Congress is scrambling to come up with a response to the atrocities in Yemen and to actions of Saudi Arabia that everyone can agree on. It's a clear struggle between Congress, which believes something needs to be said against Saudi Arabia, and the president, who has refused to break from the Saudis.
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT):
The Senate voted on Wednesday afternoon to advance the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution, which cites the War Powers Resolution in an effort to pull support from the Saudis in the war in Yemen.
- The backdrop: President Trump has already said he'd veto the legislation if it reached his desk, and the House on Wednesday approved a provision which will block any votes in regards to the War Powers Resolution until Democrats take the majority next year. But Murphy said, per The Hill, that a vote this week is "a strong enough signal to the Saudis and a signal that we're going to come back and finish it off next year."
- What's next: The Senate will debate and amend the legislation.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN):
Corker plans to introduce a non-binding resolution, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged his colleagues to get behind on Wednesday. According to Roll Call, the resolution would condemn policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and blame him for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Be smart: This would not directly change U.S. policy.
- Where it stands: The legislation hasn't yet been officially announced.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.):
Graham was joined by a group of bipartisan senators in introducing a non-binding resolution last week, which would place blame on MBS for the murder of Khashoggi and calls on the Saudis to "negotiate directly" with the rebel Houthis on an end to the war in Yemen.
- But Graham told Roll Call he'd be fine with Corker's legislation: "The key is to send a strong signal."
- Be smart: This does not directly change U.S. policy, though Graham has said he's done doing business with the Saudis as long as MBS is at the helm.
- Where it stands: The legislation hasn't been voted on yet.
Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Todd Young (R-IN.):
The "Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2018" calls for action against the Kingdom in response to the murder of Khashoggi and the unfolding disaster in Yemen. It was co-sponsored by a group of bipartisan lawmakers, including Sen. Graham.
- The act calls for the suspension of weapons sales to the Saudis, and would impose sanctions on anyone responsible for Khashoggi's death within 30 days, "including any official of the government ... or member of the royal family."
- Where it stands: This is expected to be picked back up in 2019, per The Hill.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA):
Khanna introduced a War Powers Resolution along the lines of the Sanders-Lee-Muprhy resolution, which was blacklisted in new language of the farm bill.
- The latest: The House voted to accept the rule in the farm bill on Wednesday afternoon, which states that there won't be a vote on any war powers resolution in regards to Yemen until the 116th Congress begins next year.
- Where it stands: The farm bill — which the Senate passed on Tuesday — is now expected to be up for final vote later on Wednesday.
The long-anticipated talks in Geneva between the Saudi and Houthi delegations, which started last week, ends on Thursday.
- The latest: Both sides agreed to reopen the Sanaa airport, according to Reuters, and have draft agreements on other issues, including "a political framework ... the status of the port city of Hodeidah and Yemen's economic situation."
- The two sides also agreed on a swap of thousands of prisoners by Jan. 20, considered a major breakthrough between the warring factions.