Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lawmakers reintroduce War Powers Resolution to end carnage in Yemen and reclaim Congress’ constitutional authority

Both the House and Senate "should move swiftly to reassert [their] war powers and end U.S. support for this brutal, unconstitutional war."

Image Credit: Peace Action

With the government now reopened, a the newly-elected Congress in session, and the U.S. still complicit in the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, a bipartisan group of Senators and House members – led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) – officially re-introduced a War Powers Resolution on Wednesday in order to block further U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

While the same resolution in December passed the Senate in an historic bipartisan vote, it was not taken up for a vote in the Republican-controlled House at that time. But now that Democrats control the lower chamber, Rep. Khanna argued the people of Yemen can wait no longer.

With an estimated 14 million people on the brink of famine and 85,000 children already dead as a result of the war, Khanna said “the U.S.-Saudi military campaign in Yemen has triggered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Now, he added, is time “to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi regime’s war in Yemen by reasserting Congress’ constitutional role on matters of war and peace.”

Passage of the resolution in December, said Sanders, was a clear declaration by the U.S. Senate “that we will not continue to have our military posture dictated by a despotic, murderous regime in Saudi Arabia” and called for both the House and Senate to quickly pass the resolution.

“Our immediate job is to end the terrible war in Yemen,” Sanders added. “But the time is also long overdue for Congress to reclaim its constitutional right, and to make certain that no president, Republican or Democrat, engages in a military conflict unauthorized by the U.S. Congress.”

At a morning press conference, Sanders and Khanna were joined by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) as well as  Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) – all key co-sponsors of the joint resolution.

Read the Senate resolution here. Read the House version here.

“With the new Democratic majority in the House,” said Sen. Murphy, “I am optimistic that Congress will once again sound the alarm over the atrocities committed in Yemen and end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition that is killing thousands of civilians, blocking humanitarian aid, and arming radical militias.”

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also endorsed the resolution, Khanna said he believes there are enough votes in the House to pass the it when brought to the floor for a vote.

Paul Kawika Martin, senior director of policy and political affairs for Peace Action, applauded the lawmakers for the perseverance on the issue.

“Ending U.S. support now won’t undo the damage wrought by nearly four years of U.S. complicity in this conflict, but it will accelerate an end to the war by changing Saudi Arabia’s calculus,” said Martin. “Congressional action on Yemen has already increased political pressure on Saudi Arabia to change its tactics and negotiate in good faith. Ending all U.S. support will render the Saudi-led intervention too costly and politically toxic to pursue much further.”

Both the House and Senate, he added, “should move swiftly to reassert [their] war powers and end U.S. support for this brutal, unconstitutional war.”

Watch the full press conference:

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