Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made the moral case  on Wednesday against the U.S.-backed war in Yemen and pushed for passage of a War Powers resolution to end support for the Saudi-led assault on its poverty-stricken neighbor, five Democrats in the House were busy coordinating with Republicans to kill the companion version of the resolution. (Photo: @SenSanders)

'What a Despicable Sham': MSNBC's Chris Hayes Denounces Five House Democrats as 'Cowards' for Helping GOP to Block Yemen Vote

"What the hell is the point of Congress? Why are we starving children?" asked the outraged cable news anchor. "Someone make some affirmative argument for the policy, if you think it's so important to continue killing children. But to kill the possibility of a vote in the rules committee? Cowards."

Jon Queally

While a vote in the U.S. Senate to push forward a War Powers Resolution on Wednesday resulted in applause from peace advocates and critics of U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen, five Democrats in the U.S. House stirred outrage as they helped Republicans in the chamber pass a rule—attached to massive Farm Bill legislation—that effectively killed the hopes of voting on its version of the resolution for the remainder of the congressional session.

"History will not look kindly on those who abdicated their constitutional duty to debate and vote our nation's wars in the name of petty politics and shoring up future campaign contributions from the arms industry and pro-Saudi lobbyists."
—Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action
The procedural vote in the Senate, said resolution co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), will help send a message to the world that the chamber will soon end its support for "this brutal, horrific war in Yemen led by an undemocratic, despotic regime."

But in the House, say critics, the five Democrats—Reps. Jim Costa (Calif.), Al Lawson (Fla.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Dutch Rupperberger (Md.), and David Scott (Ga.)—sent the exact opposite message by backing the GOP-led effort to kill the resolution.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes was just one of the journalists and other experts following the story who expressed outrage about the House vote.

"There is literally no domestic constituency of actual voters who are agitating for the U.S. to continue facilitating the bombardment and starvation of Yemen," Hayes tweeted. He added, "What a despicable sham."

The Washington Post's Jeff Stein reported that after the vote it was the "angriest at leadership I've seen progressive House aides and members in a long time." And with the final vote 206-203—a margin where the Democratic votes made the crucial difference—one of those aides told him that was "not a coincidence."

And Matt Fuller of the Huffington Post added:

Stein asked Rep. Peterson directly why he voted the way he did, to which the congressman responded, in part: "I don't know a damn thing about" the war in Yemen but dismissed the resolution to end U.S. complicity in the world's worst humanitarian disaster as an off-topic "tangent."

"Just to be extremely clear about what happened here," explained Stein in a separate tweet: "The farm bill was going to pass regardless of the outcome of this vote. In other words, these 5 Democrats could have voted both for the farm bill and against blocking a vote on Yemen. It's not like they were incompatible."

Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs for Peace Action, said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, his fellow Republicans, and the five Democrats who voted with them "are condemning more Yemeni civilians to die horrible deaths, and condemning our nation as a democracy in name only. History will not look kindly on those who abdicated their constitutional duty to debate and vote our nation's wars in the name of petty politics and shoring up future campaign contributions from the arms industry and pro-Saudi lobbyists."


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.

'Tipping Point of No Return' Feared as Amazon Rainforest Fires Surge

"Up to now, the Biden administration has only legitimized the Brazilian government's anti-Indigenous and anti-environmental agenda," said Greenpeace USA.

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Urged to Embrace Windfall Tax as Exxon Says Profits Doubled in Second Quarter

"It's time for the president to demand that Congress pass a windfall profits tax on Big Oil and use the revenue to provide rebates to consumers NOW!" wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo