A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress reintroduced legislation Wednesday that could halt U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The war powers resolution already passed the Senate in December but failed to gain traction in the then-Republican-controlled House, which has since changed hands.
It is not only a challenge to President Donald Trump, who would be forced to issue the first veto of his administration if he wishes to continue U.S. aid for the Saudi campaign without explicit congressional authorization but is also part of a congressional rebuke of Saudi Arabia for its killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, Republican Senator Mike Lee and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders reintroduced the legislation, which is guaranteed a vote in the Senate. Democratic Representatives Ro Khanna, Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal have also worked to support the joint resolution. At issue for the lawmakers is not only the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Yemen, where millions are at risk of starvation, but the Constitution’s separation of powers.
“We are going to send a strong signal to the president that the U.S. Congress is prepared to play the role designed for us by the framers of the Constitution,” Sanders said in a statement. Washington has so far supported the Saudi-led coalition’s war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels through mid-air refueling operations, arms sales, intelligence sharing and target identification. The resolution would force the U.S. to halt its support within 30 days unless Congress authorizes it.
The legislation is likely to pass in the House of Representatives if it clears the Republican-controlled Senate, where the party picked up an additional two seats during November’s midterm elections.
The resolution never received a vote in the House after it cleared the Senate last year because former Speaker Paul Ryan refused to bring it to the floor.
This time, it does have the backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Congress has a responsibility to oversee the use of U.S. military force and called the war in Yemen “a permanent stain on the conscience of the world”.
“The United States must also work to advance a peaceful, enduring political solution to the conflict and end the humanitarian crisis,” she said.
If Trump does have to issue a veto to stop the latest effort, lawmakers would have to support it with a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override the presidential action.
Source: Anadolu Agency