With Congress set to vote as early as next week on the annual military spending bill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joined Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna in calling for the inclusion of an amendment that would end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's years-long assault on Yemen.
"The humanitarian crisis in Yemen must end," tweeted Schumer, a Democrat from New York. "A bipartisan majority in Congress has repeatedly supported ending President [Donald] Trump's support of the Saudi war in Yemen."
"Progressives will not support the National Defense Authorization bill if we do not have this amendment that brings the war in Yemen to an end."
—Rep. Ro Khanna
Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, quickly echoed Schumer Wednesday.
"Senator Schumer is right," tweeted Sanders. "Congress has got to stand up for the Constitution and tell this lawless president: We are not giving you a Pentagon bill that allows you to partner with the despotic Saudi regime in its horrific war in Yemen."
Earlier this year, as Common Dreams reported, the Senate and House passed a War Powers resolution led by Sanders and Khanna that would have ended U.S. support for the Saudi war on Yemen, which has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis. But Trump vetoed the historic measure in April, and the House and Senate lacked the votes to override the president's move.
Now Sanders, Khanna, and Schumer are leading an effort to include a Yemen amendment in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which will set next year's military budget.
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"Progressives will not support the National Defense Authorization bill if we do not have this amendment that brings the war in Yemen to an end," Khanna said Wednesday in a video produced in partnership with Sanders. "The bloodshed must stop."
When Trump vetoed our historic legislation to end the horrors in Yemen, the peace movement in this country did not give up—they began mobilizing even more strongly.@RepRoKhanna is absolutely right. This is how we are going to stop this unconstitutional war. pic.twitter.com/FjwBEqjTj7
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 27, 2019
As journalist Sam Adler-Bell reported for The Intercept on Wednesday, progressive anti-war groups are pressuring Democrats to use their leverage in the House and Senate to push for inclusion of the Yemen amendment, which is sponsored by Reps. Khanna, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Adam Smith (D-Calif.).
"Democrats increasingly purport to support putting an end to the country's many endless wars," David Segal, executive director of progressive advocacy group Demand Progress, told The Intercept. "But anything less than using the NDAA to ensure an end to our involvement in the Yemen war would belie these claims."
Adler-Bell reported that some progressive staffers on Capitol Hill are worried "that Democratic leadership would trade away some of the Yemen language, which is precisely tailored to cut funding for forms of U.S. assistance that are essential to the Saudi aerial bombardment."
"The Democrats have moral authority, procedural power, and bipartisan majorities on their side," said Segal. "If they let the NDAA go through without these provisions intact it will amount to a demonstration of cynicism or learned helplessness that could cost hundreds of thousands more lives."