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"We urge House Democrats to reject any motion to recommit and pass a clean version ofSJRes7 as adopted by the Senate," the groups wrote. (Photo: Real News/Screengrab)

Democrats Urged to Stay Unified Against GOP Effort to Sabotage Yemen War Powers Vote

"House Democrats can stop the war and end horrific humanitarian crisis in Yemen. All they have to do is not vote for Republican motions designed to derail the process."

A coalition of more than 40 progressive advocacy groups Wednesday warned Democrats to block any Republican attempts to sabotage the effort to end U.S. complicity in Yemen's humanitarian crisis.

"We urge you to vote against any motion to recommit (MTR) presented by Republicans," the groups wrote in a letter (pdf) to House Democrats. "A vote in favor of the MTR is a vote to destroy the viability of the bill, prevent it from reaching the president's desk, and prolong the conflict."

"Next week the House will vote on our resolution to end US support for the Yemen war. I urge my House colleagues to reject any effort to undermine the resolution with a motion to recommit."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

An MTR is the final opportunity for the minority party to amend legislation before it reaches the floor for a final vote.

Progressives have good reason to worry about Democrats voting for Republican MTRs. In February, House Democrats unanimously approved a Republican MTR that inserted language condemning anti-Semitism into the Yemen War Powers resolution.

The Yemen resolution passed the House, but the language denouncing anti-Semitism was deemed "non-germane" to the legislation—which is why the House must re-vote on the resolution before it reaches President Donald Trump's desk.

The Senate passed the Yemen War Powers resolution earlier this month. The second House vote is expected as early as next week.

"Republicans will seek to defeat this critical bill to end U.S. support for the coalition's military campaign, likely by using the procedural vote as an opportunity to introduce non-germane language," the groups warned. "The Republicans' weaponization of accusations of anti-Semitism is wrong. Doing so to prolong one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world is unconscionable. Democrats must not abet such a cynical effort."

If the GOP does succeed in amending the Yemen resolution through an MTR, the groups warned, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) "would then be under no obligation to bring SJRes7 back up for a vote, and the bill would die."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—a leader of the Senate effort to end U.S. complicity in Yemen—urged House Democrats to unite against Republican attempts to undermine the War Powers resolution:

The progressive coalition's warning to House Democrats comes amid further evidence of the deadly consequences of America's ongoing role in Yemen.

As Common Dreams reported, the U.S.-Saudi coalition Tuesday bombed a hospital in Yemen, killing seven people—including four children.

Read the progressive groups' full letter to House Democrats:

We urge you to vote against any motion to recommit (MTR) presented by Republicans on SJRes7, the War Powers Resolution to end unconstitutional U.S. military participation in the Saudi-and Emirati-led coalition's military intervention in Yemen. A vote in favor of the MTR is a vote to destroy the viability of the bill, prevent it from reaching the president's desk, and prolong the conflict.

SJRes7 passed the Senate on March 13th, 2019, with a bipartisan majority and will be considered in the House within days. Republicans are sure to try to derail the bill with a political ploy to tempt Democrats into voting for it. But the House adoption of the Republicans' MTR would insert language into the text of SJRes7 that would require reapproval by the Senate. The language that Republicans will attempt to insert through the MTR will strip the measure of privileged status. Majority Leader McConnell would then be under no obligation to bring SJRes7 back up for a vote, and the bill would die.

We know this because in February, House Democrats unanimously voted to pass SJRes7's companion bill, HJRes37. House Republicans introduced a motion to recommit with non-germane language condemning anti-Semitism, and Democrats voted to add it to the resolution. At that time, House Democrats were unaware that the inclusion of such language would de-privilege the resolution.

This House vote to end unconstitutional U.S. military participation in the Saudi/UAE-led coalition's intervention in Yemen could not come at a more critical time for the 15.9 million people at risk of famine. Saudi and Emirati coalition airstrikes in Yemen and the coalition's blockade of the country has impeded the flow of food, fuel, and medicine, pushing prices of essential goods out of reach for millions of Yemenis. A child dies in Yemen every 10 minutes from preventable causes and 85,000 children under the age of five have died from hunger and disease.

Aid group Oxfam America noted, "By providing continued, unflinching support for the Saudi-led coalition, the Trump administration is helping to push Yemen towards famine. With that lack of leadership from the White House, it is not just appropriate for Congress to intervene; it is a moral imperative."

Republicans will seek to defeat this critical bill to end U.S. support for the coalition's military campaign, likely by using the procedural vote as an opportunity to introduce non-germane language to SJRes7. The Republicans' weaponization of accusations of anti-Semitism is wrong. Doing so to prolong one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world is unconscionable. Democrats must not abet such a cynical effort.

We urge House Democrats to reject any motion to recommit and pass a clean version of SJRes7 as adopted by the Senate. By doing so, Congress will send a clear signal to the Trump Administration that unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition's intervention in Yemen must end.


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