As the U.S. Senate prepared Wednesday to vote on a resolution to cut military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, House Republicans in their last days in power moved to undermine efforts to end U.S. complicity in the assault that’s dragged on for more than three years in the impoverished country.
The House Rules Committee advanced the Farm Bill to a floor debate Tuesday evening, with progressives celebrating the absence of work requirements for low-income families who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—but hidden in the annual agricultural bill was a provision keeping lawmakers from forcing a vote on any legislation invoking War Powers resolutions for the rest of the year.
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“This is why people hate Congress,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who introduced the Yemen resolution, said in response to the move. “Speaker Ryan is not allowing a vote on my resolution to stop the war in Yemen because many Republicans will vote with us and he will lose the vote. He is disgracing Article 1 of the Constitution, and as a result, more Yemeni children will die.”
While the Senate is widely expected to pass a proposal invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution on Wednesday, allowing Congress to end U.S. support for the war, the GOP’s maneuver in the House stymied the plan to ensure that Khanna’s proposal would pass.
“The provisions of section 7 of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1546) shall not apply during the remainder of the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress to a concurrent resolution introduced pursuant to section 5 of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544) with respect to Yemen,” wrote the Republicans on the House Rules Committee, hours before the Senate’s expected vote.
Progressives including Khanna and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have led the charge to end U.S. support of the Saudi’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, in which the U.S.-backed coalition has bombed such civilian targets as a school bus filled with children, wedding parties, and marketplaces. The U.S. has also provided tactical support, intelligence, and weapons to the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.).
At least 10,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed by Saudi airstrikes, which have been able to hit targets throughout the country thanks to refueling support by U.S. planes. The British NGO ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project) estimates that up to 80,000 people have been killed by the cholera and diphtheria epidemics and famine that have resulted from the war.
Since the Saudis’ killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, public outrage over U.S. support for Saudi Arabia has grown, with three-quarters of Americans telling YouGov in November that the U.S. should end its involvement in the war.