WASHINGTON – The Senate vote today to invoke the War Powers Resolution (WPR) against the US role in the Saudi and United Arab Emirates war in Yemen is a “firm rebuke of US military participation in a genocidal war,” Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today.
Contrary to some analysis and commentary, and despite the passage of a rule attached to the House Farm Bill to block a vote on the WPR in reference to Yemen, the Senate vote demonstrates momentum toward Congress eventually ending US involvement in the Yemen war, Weisbrot said.
“This has gone far beyond responding to the Saudis’ murder of Khashoggi,” Weisbrot said. “This is the US Congress using its constitutional authority to end unauthorized US military participation in a war where the side America is supporting is using mass starvation as a weapon.”
Weisbrot noted that the Republicans’ use of the Rules Committee on Wednesday to block a debate and vote on a similar measure in the House was probably illegal, and won’t stop that resolution from passing.
“The incoming House leadership is supportive of invoking the WPR and getting the US out of this war, so it’s just a matter of time. Unfortunately, for many Yemenis, time is something they do not have. Thousands of people will die because of this delay, including more than 3,000 children before the new House of Representatives is sworn in.”
According to UNICEF, “conflict remains the major driver of food insecurity” and “as many as 20 million Yemenis are now food insecure,” with 14 million on the brink of famine.
Weisbrot added: “According to the 1973 War Powers Act, which is the law of the land and the basis for these resolutions in both chambers, if the House and Senate pass concurrent resolutions demanding the end of US military involvement in Yemen, President Trump cannot veto the law and must comply with it.”
Weisbrot noted that congressional pressure had already had a significant impact in furthering peace negotiations and had prompted the Pentagon to declare an end to the refueling of Saudi and UAE jets engaged in bombing Yemen.
“Senators Sanders, Lee, and Murphy and others in Congress know that people in Yemen cannot wait any longer. Millions of people face starvation; a child dies every 10 minutes due to malnutrition or disease because of the blockade and bombings. It’s already been months since the world was outraged by the Saudis’ bombing of a school bus full of children, and it’s been over two months since a Saudi hit squad murdered the journalist Jamal Khashoggi ― yet the Trump administration continues to actively participate in this mass slaughter.”