Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Expanding U.S. involvement in Yemen "could push the country into full-blown famine, where nearly half a million children in Yemen are facing starvation," warned Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin. (Photo: Felton Davis/flickr/cc)

55 Bipartisan Lawmakers Demand Trump Pump Brakes on Military Action in Yemen

'Once again, the administration appears ready to ramp up U.S. involvement in a complicated civil war without a clear strategy in place or the necessary authorization from Congress'

Deirdre Fulton

As conflict swirls over the recent U.S. bombing in Syria, more than 50 bipartisan lawmakers have demanded President Donald Trump seek approval from Congress before expanding U.S. military action in another Middle East theater: Yemen.

The letter sent this week came in response to reports that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to directly engage the U.S. military in Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis in Yemen, including a planned United Arab Emirates-led attack on the Yemeni port of Hodeida, currently held by Houthi rebels.

"Such an attack could push the country into full-blown famine, where nearly half a million children in Yemen are facing starvation," said U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who led the letter campaign along with Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

As Common Dreams reported in March, the U.S.-supported war in Yemen has already led the country to what one journalist described as "the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world."

Furthermore, "Direct U.S. hostilities against Yemen's Houthis would run counter to your pledge to pursue a 'disciplined, deliberate and consistent foreign policy' that protects American families in 'every decision'," reads the letter to Trump. "Indeed, according to U.S. defense officials, the U.S.-backed Saudi war against Houthis in Yemen has already 'strengthened al Qaeda there' and poses 'a serious threat to U.S. security'."

The lawmakers, who garnered 50 additional signatures for their missive, note that "Congress has never authorized the actions under consideration."

In turn, they write:

Engaging our military against Yemen's Houthis when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers clearly delineated in the Constitution. For this reason, we write to request that the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) provide, without delay, any legal justification that it would cite if the administration intends to engage in direct hostilities against Yemen's Houthis without seeking congressional authorization.

As U.S. Representatives, we take seriously the right and responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of force, or to refuse to do so, as mandated by the Constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution. We expect that any direct military actions pursued by the administration against the Yemeni Houthis be brought before Congress for consideration and authorization for approval before they are executed.

"President Trump does not have the authority to send U.S. forces to battle the Houthis in Yemen, period," said Lieu. "Once again, the administration appears ready to ramp up U.S. involvement in a complicated civil war without a clear strategy in place or the necessary authorization from Congress. A unilateral decision for direct U.S. involvement in Yemen would be met by swift, bipartisan opposition."

The letter, and a full list of signatories, is here (pdf).

Just Foreign Policy, which supported the signature campaign along with other anti-war organizations, is now urging constituents to demand their lawmakers invoke the War Powers Resolution when they return from recess on April 25, "to explicitly prohibit military escalation in Syria and Yemen."

"I can't promise you that we can stop this catastrophe," wrote Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy last month. "But we used this exact same mechanism less than four years ago and were successful in stopping U.S. military action," he continued, referring to the 2013 effort to stop then-President Barack Obama from bombing the Syrian government. "Given that the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children hang in the balance, isn't it worth a try?"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Latest UN Climate Report Delivers 'Another Thundering Wake-Up Call'

"Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem," said the UNEP executive director. "The clock is ticking loudly."

Jessica Corbett ·


Climate Movement Hails 'Mind-Blowing' $40 Trillion in Fossil Fuel Divestment Pledges

"Institutions around the world must step up now and commit to joining the divest-invest movement before it is too late—for them, for the economy, and for the world."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Really Fantastic': Europe's Largest Pension Fund Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment

It's "a huge victory for the climate, human rights, and all life on Earth," said one activist.

Andrea Germanos ·


Senate Urged to Quickly Confirm Net Neutrality Advocates to FCC Posts

The White House was expected to announce the nominations of acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn.

Julia Conley ·


'A Political Scam, Not a Serious Plan': Groups Blast Australia Climate Pledge

"If Morrison expects to front up to COP 26 with this sorry excuse for a net-zero emissions target and no increase in formal ambition on Australia's 2030 target, he'll be laughed out of the room."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo