In a recent letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the armed service committees in the U.S. House and Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders along with a bipartisan group of 43 other lawmakers urged Congress to defund unauthorized U.S. military involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Instead of withdrawing all support to Saudi Arabia and U.S. troops based within the region, the legislators specifically seek to withdraw support to the Saudi-led war in Yemen against the Houthis.
Writing to the chairmen and ranking members of the armed service committees in the House and Senate who oversee the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal Year 2020, the coalition of 44 lawmakers called for an amendment preventing U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war against Yemen. In the letter, the lawmakers noted that bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress have voted repeatedly to end unauthorized U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led conflict.
“A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate has voted three times over the past year to end all U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen,” Sanders and his colleagues wrote. They noted that a recent amendment introduced by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) to end all “U.S. involvement in offensive strikes in the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis in Yemen” passed in the House by a vote of 240-185.
“This amendment would not prevent any intelligence or logistical support to the Saudi and UAE-led coalition for defensive purposes, to protect U.S. personnel in the region, for operations against al Qaeda and ISIS, or for hostilities that have been authorized by Congress,” they continued. “Rather, the legislation is narrowly limited to only prohibit U.S. involvement in offensive strikes in the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis in Yemen which a bipartisan, bicameral majority of Congress has declared to be unauthorized.”
The legislators concluded, “Inclusion of this amendment would ensure that our men and women in uniform are not involved in a war which has never been authorized by Congress and continues to undermine rather than advance U.S. national security interests.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). The letter was joined by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Andy Kim (D-N.J.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), and Lori Trahan (D-Mass.).
Remarking on this year’s deadliest Saudi bombing in Yemen, which killed 100 over the weekend, Sanders said, “U.S. logistical support, spare-parts transfers and intelligence sharing for the Saudi dictatorship’s airstrikes make us complicit in this nightmare. By passing our bill earlier this year, the House and Senate have spoken: America’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war is unconstitutional and must end immediately. Now we must use Congress’s power of the purse to block every nickel of taxpayer money from going to assist the Saudi dictatorship as it bombs and starves civilians in Yemen.”
He added, “By standing firm and shutting off funding, we can put an end to this humanitarian catastrophe.”
“Including our Yemen amendment in the final NDAA is essential to ending the Saudi-led war in Yemen. By banning the transfer of spare parts to the Saudis, we will immediately ground their air force and put an end to the bombing of innocent civilians,” Khanna stated. “The president has to sign the NDAA, and including our amendment even gives him the chance to live up to his campaign promise to end foreign wars.”