Bill Introduced in the House to End the War in Yemen
Can Congress end undeclared war?
A resolution was introduced in the House on Thursday that calls for an end to US involvement in the war in Yemen. The bill was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and co-sponsored by seven other members of the House, including three Republicans, making the legislation a bipartisan rebuke to the war, similar to a measure President Trump vetoed in 2019.
The legislation invokes the 1973 War Powers Resolution and calls for the president “to remove United States Armed Forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen.”
Since 2015, the US has supported Saudi Arabia and its allies in a war against Yemen’s Houthis. While US troops are not fighting on the ground against the Houthis, the support the US military gives the coalition is covered under the War Powers Resolution.
Section 8(c) of the War Powers Resolution defines the introduction of US Armed Forces to include “the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities.”
The bill says that the “activities that the United States has conducted in support of the Saudi-led coalition fall within” the above definition. US support for the coalition includes training Saudi pilots, providing spare parts for airplanes, logistical assistance, and intelligence sharing. Experts agree, if the US cuts off support for the coalition, the war in Yemen would quickly come to an end.
The US-backed Saudi-led war has had a devastating impact on Yemen’s civilian population due to the coalition’s tactics and regular targeting of infrastructure.
“Unauthorized United States military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen has contributed to producing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 20 million people dependent on food aid and two million children under five years of age requiring treatment for malnutrition,” the bill reads.
“Over five years of military conflict, 50 percent of Yemen’s healthcare infrastructure has closed, and Saudi-led bombings have destroyed over 70 hospitals. COVID-19 is now spreading largely undetected across Yemen’s immuno-compromised population.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
President Trump has vetoed previous efforts to end the war in Yemen, including bills banning arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but the incoming administration could support the measure. Joe Biden has said he plans to end US support for the Saudi’s war in Yemen.