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'Historic': House Approves War Powers Resolution to End US Complicity in Yemen

"Not only does this vote bolster hopes for a quicker end to the war and the resulting humanitarian crisis, it also signals a timely resurgence in congressional oversight on war."

Boys hold a large piece of twisted metal near homes that were destroyed in an air strike in Okash Village, near Sana’a, the capital of Yemen in 2017. (Photo: UNICEF/Mohammed Hamoud)

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a War Powers Resolution that would require President Trump to end U.S. military support for the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen. 

The bill, H.J. Res. 37 introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), passed in a 248-177 vote—mostly along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House—and will now head to the Senate where a version of the resolution last year, despite Republican control, passed in historic fashion. Read the full roll call here.

"Today is historic," declared Khanna in statement. "This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen. I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role."

Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, also celebrated the vote and characterized it, like the Senate vote last year, as historic.

"Building on last year's Senate vote, the newly empowered House of Representatives just made history by voting to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen, marking the first time the House has successfully invoked the War Powers Act to direct the withdrawal of U.S. forces from an unauthorized war," Martin said.

"Not only does this vote bolster hopes for a quicker end to the war and the resulting humanitarian crisis," he added, "it also signals a timely resurgence in congressional oversight on war. The Senate will have to vote again to send this particular bill to the president's desk, which it should do without delay, but Congress has now made its opposition to U.S. military involvement in Yemen crystal clear."

Both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who spearheaded the companion resolution in the Senate, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), an early co-sponsor, applauded the House vote:

Win Without War, one of the key anti-war groups that lobbied alongside other peace and human rights groups to demand an end to U.S. complicity in Yemen, thanked their members and all those who applied pressure on lawmakers to vote in favor of the resolution:

Diane Randall, executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), also hailed the vote and gave credit to the tireless work of campaigners.

"Today's vote affirms the power of grassroots, pro-peace advocacy to turn the tide against war in Congress," said Randall. "Ending the war that has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is something we can achieve. Today's vote demonstrates a bipartisan desire to do so."

Martin said that he hopes the Saudis and their allies in the war, like the United Arab Emirates, recognize just how serious a rebuke of the carnage in Yemen members of Congress are now voicing.

"For nations participating in the Saudi-led intervention," Martin said, "this new political reality poses a serious threat to their military relationships with the United States. For millions of Yemenis facing indiscriminate airstrikes and war-induced famine, this new political reality offers a glimmer of hope for a more peaceful future. More work remains to be done, but hope is well worth celebrating."

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