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Saudi war Yemen

 A Yemeni girl walks over the rubble of a building destroyed in an airstrike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in the Old City of Sana'a on July 7, 2019. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

House Dems Vow to Introduce War Powers Resolution for Yemen

Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Peter DeFazio say the ongoing U.S. involvement in the carnage is "unconstitutional" and must be ended completely.

Brett Wilkins

A pair of progressive U.S. lawmakers on Monday said that if President Joe Biden does not stop supporting the Saudi-led war against Yemen, they will work to pass a new war powers resolution to "end unconstitutional U.S. participation" in the conflict. 

"We will not sit by as the Constitution is ignored and the Yemeni people suffer seven years into this unauthorized war."

"We will not sit by as the Constitution is ignored and the Yemeni people suffer seven years into this unauthorized war," Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)—who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus—and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) wrote in The Nation. "If the administration refuses to act, Congress will force them to. In advance of the seventh anniversary of this war, we will work with our colleagues in Congress to pass a new Yemen War Powers Resolution." 

"Our aim is clear: to reassert Congress's constitutional war powers authority, terminate unauthorized U.S. involvement in this endless war, reinvigorate diplomatic efforts, and ease this devastating humanitarian disaster," they continued. "American complicity has persisted in this conflict for too long—now it's time for Congress to act."

Progressive groups welcomed the lawmakers' resolve, with DemandProgress tweeting that "a war powers resolution is the best way to end ALL unauthorized U.S. support for the devastating Saudi-UAE-led war on Yemen. It's time for Congress to reclaim its authority over war!"

The lawmakers noted some of the war's grim realities: indiscriminate airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians; the destruction of vital infrastructure; a crippling blockade on Yemen's ports that has restricted access to food, fuel, and medicines and has exacerbated a crisis in which 16 million Yemenis are on the edge of starvation and over two million children suffer from acute malnutrition.

Jayapal and Fazio continued: 

A year ago last week, President Biden announced that he would withdraw U.S. support from the Saudi-led coalition's "offensive" operations in Yemen. This suggested there would be dramatic decreases in military logistical support and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Yet the exact opposite has occurred. Last year, the administration provided over $1 billion in weaponry to Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. continues to provide logistical support that is essential to the Saudi air force's deadly bombings.

"Since 2015, the United States has directly participated in this war without authorization from Congress," the lawmakers wrote. "This is in clear violation of Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which grants Congress the power to declare war and authorize U.S. military involvement."

"The disturbing truth," they added, "is that the United States, through its military involvement in the Saudi-led coalition's war against the Houthis in Yemen, has been directly participating in this horrific war for too long. It's time for this complicity to end."

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