Maria Langholz, [email protected]
WASHINGTON — Today, upon the introduction of H.J.Res.87, 104 groups voiced their support for the legislation which would end unauthorized U.S. participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s war and blockade on Yemen. The bill was introduced by Representatives Jayapal (D-WA-7), DeFazio (D-OR-4), Mace (R-SC-1), and Schiff (D-CA-28), and is a bipartisan War Powers Resolution. The legislation is supported by 48 co-sponsors. It was announced that Senator Sanders will introduce a Senate companion bill soon.
“Congress has a historic opportunity to end crucial U.S. engagement in the Saudi-UAE-led coalition’s deadly and inhumane war against Yemen, and reclaim their Constitutional jurisdiction over war,” said Cavan Kharrazian, Foreign Policy Campaigner at Demand Progress. “This bill language has enjoyed strong support in Congress previously, and we strongly urge all past supporters – especially key leadership – to publicly commit to backing this Yemen War Powers Resolution once again. Our letter demonstrates widespread support for ending U.S. complicity in perpetuating one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, and we won’t rest until that support has ended once and for all.”
Groups signed on in support of the bill include MoveOn, Concerned Veterans for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Common Defense, and FreedomWorks. The groups welcome news that Yemen’s warring parties have agreed to a two-month nationwide truce to halt all military operations in Yemen, lift fuel restrictions, and open Sana’a airport. To strengthen this fragile truce and further incentivize Saudi Arabia to stay at the negotiation table, the groups urge members of the House of Representatives to cosponsor and vote in favor of Representatives Jayapal and DeFazio’s newly introduced War Powers Resolution to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen.
“The recent nationwide truce between Yemen’s warring parties offers hope that an end to the seven-year conflict might finally be possible,” said Hassan El-Tayyab, Legislative Director for Middle East policy at Friends Committee on National Legislation. “Congress must help prevent backsliding by Saudi Arabia, which has driven so much of the violence through indiscriminate airstrikes and its crippling blockade, by passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution and blocking U.S. military support for any renewed hostilities. Congressional pressure is critical right now to keep the warring parties at the bargaining table and off the battlefield. By reasserting its Article I war authority, Congress can help extend this temporary truce into a lasting peace settlement and bring this devastating humanitarian crisis to an end.”
The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition’s war and blockade on Yemen, which entered its eighth year on March 25th, has driven one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world and lead to the deaths of roughly 400,000 Yemeni civilians since the start of the conflict. It is also largely responsible for the fact that 16 million more have been pushed to the edge of famine.
“Nobody knows better the devastating costs of war than veterans. Many of our members served in the unjust conflicts of the past twenty years, which created a similar humanitarian crisis in the region,” said Naveed Shah, Political Director at Common Defense. “Knowing this, Common Defense has worked towards peace in the Middle East, one conflict at a time. I applaud Rep. Jayapal and Rep. DeFazio for introducing this legislation and implore Congress to pass the Yemen War Powers resolution in order to stop the bloodshed, and abate the impending famine. America cannot provide the means to perpetuate human rights abuses in Yemen while decrying human rights abuses of other nations elsewhere in the world.”
Last year, newly elected President Biden announced that he would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen, but key aspects of U.S. complicity remain. The U.S. continues to supply the Saudi-UAE-led coalition with intelligence enabling offensive strikes; provides logistical support, maintenance, and spare parts that are essential for sustaining the Saudi Royal Airforce bombing campaign in Yemen.
“More than a year has passed since President Biden promised an end to U.S. support for offensive military operations in Yemen,” said Russ Duerstine, Deputy Director of Concerned Veterans for America. “While some activities have ceased, our legislators still have a role to play: namely, voting to end residual support for the Saudi-led coalition’s prosecution of this war, the political instability it fuels, and the suffering it has caused. In so doing, the Congress can assert its latent war powers and affirm its solemn Constitutional duties in keeping with America’s strategic interests and moral conscience.”
If adopted, H.J.Res.87 would require the President to cease this support within 30 days, unless Congress proactively votes in favor of specific authorization for such actions.