Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)

During an interview with Democracy Now! on Thursday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) vowed to keep fighting U.S. support for the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition bombing Yemen. (Photo: Democracy Now!)

Denouncing GOP Efforts to Block War Powers Vote as an 'Outrage,' Khanna Vows to Keep Fighting to End US Complicity in Yemen

"They're not just hurting children in Yemen and the humanitarian crisis," Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna said of House Republicans. "They're undermining their own role as members of Congress."

Jessica Corbett

"It was really an outrage."

That's how Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) responded Thursday to House Republicans' successful efforts to block a vote on his war powers resolution that aimed to end U.S. support for the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition's bombing of Yemen, which has produced the world's worst humanitarian crisis and put some 14 million civilians at risk of starving to death.

On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee advanced legislation to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list, but inserted language that also would effectively prevent a floor vote on Khanna's resolution. Wednesday evening, the House approved the rule 201-187.

"We've never seen those kinds of shenanigans with a war powers resolution," Khanna said of the Republicans' maneuvering on Democracy Now! Thursday morning. "They're not just hurting children in Yemen and the humanitarian crisis—they're undermining their own role as members of Congress."

"Let's be very clear: This is unprecedented... This is basically rendering ineffectual the War Powers Act," Khanna said on the House floor Wednesday evening. With this move, he argued, the GOP-controlled chamber is essentially saying that "if the president of the United States and the speaker believe we should be at war, we should be at war. It doesn't matter what members of Congress think."

In terms of next steps, Khanna said that the Senate may take up a version of the resolution by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and if the upper chamber passes it, "we will bring it up again in the House before the lame-duck session ends because we don't have time to waste." If the Senate doesn't vote, or rejects Sanders' resolution, Khanna said he will push for a vote when Democrats take control of the House in January.

Although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last week that the U.S. would halt the refueling of the coalition's aircraft, as Khanna emphasized Thursday, "that's not a binding decision." In fact, "one of the reasons that Pompeo and Mattis called for a ceasefire of violence is they knew they were losing support in Congress. They knew that this war powers resolution was pending, that it was going to come for a vote, that they have 15 to 20 Republicans defecting—many from the Freedom Caucus—and they wanted to try to preempt that," Khanna claimed.

"When the new Congress convenes next year, ending all U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's devastating war in Yemen should be the first order of business."
—Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action

As Paul Kawika Martin of Peace Action pointed out, "House Speaker Paul Ryan's office cited the administration's recent decision to end U.S. refueling of Saudi coalition aircraft in the war in Yemen as a reason for de-privileging the Yemen war powers resolution, but other forms of U.S. support for the coalition—arms sales, intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, and political support—are still fueling the world's worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen."

"When the new Congress convenes next year, ending all U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's devastating war in Yemen should be the first order of business," Martin added. While anti-war activists have fought for years to end U.S. complicity in the war and the subsequent humanitarian crisis, Saudi Arabia has garnered heightened media attention and criticism from the American public since Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

"His last column in the Washington Post was calling for the end of the barbaric campaign in Yemen," Khanna noted. "He was murdered precisely because he was speaking for hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians who didn't have a voice, and I'm glad that Khashoggi's murder has awakened the conscience of the United States and the world community about what was going on in Yemen."

"But the way we honor Khashoggi is not simply to seek retribution for the killers who took his life," the congressman concluded. "It's to make sure that the killers who are taking the lives of children in Yemen and hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians are brought to justice and that that stops."

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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

After Kids Killed in Texas, Dems Declare 'Pass Gun Safety Legislation Now'

"Congress has a moral responsibility to end gun violence now," said Sen. Ed Markey. "To those who refuse to act, there are no excuses. Only complicity and shame."

Jessica Corbett ·

At Least 19 Children, 2 Adults Killed in Texas Elementary School Shooting

"This has become part of who we are as a country," said Julián Castro. "The free availability of guns has not made us safer in the United States or here in the state of Texas."

Brett Wilkins ·

House Dems to Pelosi: Hold Vote for Bill Expanding Social Security

"It is Congress' responsibility to ensure that Social Security's benefits are protected and improved," says a letter to the speaker. "It's time we deliver."

Jessica Corbett ·

Two Years After George Floyd Murder, Biden to Issue Executive Order on Police Reform

"The entire culture and mentality needs to change to bring these words to life, and to save lives," said one civil liberties advocate.

Julia Conley ·

'Wholesale Fraud' in Michigan Governor Race Could Disqualify GOP Candidates

"It looks like the Republican clown car may be losing a few occupants."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo