With yesterday’s vote to advance a bill ending US support for the war in Yemen, a vital change has taken place. The principle is reestablished that we can force a vote in Congress on unauthorized — and therefore unconstitutional — wars anytime we can get a single member of Congress to insist on a vote.
Let us look each other in the eye and commit that we will push by any and all legal and nonviolent means necessary to force as many votes as necessary in the Senate and the House before Congress adjourns for the year, in order to end the Yemen war and stop the famine. The United Nations and aid groups have said forcefully that there must be a sustained cease-fire right now in order to get the people and resources into Yemen that are necessary to stop the famine. Not in January. Right now.
Any member of the House, any day the House is in session, can now introduce a new House Yemen War Powers Resolution, and that resolution will be privileged, guaranteed a vote on the House floor. That resolution does not need to be led by the sponsors of the last bill. There can also be more than one bill. There can be a Republican bill, there can be a Democratic bill, there can be a bipartisan bill, or all of the above.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and his Rules Committee can try to block a vote by bringing forward a rule that de-privileges each bill. But advocates for ending the Yemen war right now and stopping the famine can beat Paul Ryan and his Rules Committee by having the votes on the floor to defeat any such rule. Last time, we were only seven votes shy of defeating Ryan on the vote on the rule — and that was before yesterday, when the Senate voted 63-37 to advance the Sanders-Lee-Murphy bill, with every single Democratic senator and 14 Republicans voting in favor. That was also before House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi finally agreed to co-sponsor the House Yemen War Powers Resolution. We should expect every single member of the House Democratic Caucus to vote with us on the…