Press Releases

Press Release: Demand Progress Applauds Lawmakers’ Questions at Yemen Hearings, but Very Concerned by the Special Envoy’s Dodges

CONTACT: Cavan Kharrazian; [email protected]

WASHINGTON — Yesterday the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) held subcommittee hearings on the crisis in Yemen and U.S. foreign policy on Yemen. Representatives heard from the U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, and Senators also heard from Lenderking, as well as witnesses Lise Grande, President of the United States Institute of Peace and Amanda Catanzano of the International Rescue Committee.

These hearings came as 43 lawmakers were still awaiting answers to a letter sent to President Biden in February in order to clarify what actions would be taken in regards to the announced end to U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s blockade on Yemen has become the focus of increased attention in the past few weeks, as more than 80 lawmakers, including 8 members of the House subcommittee that hosted the hearing, signed letters to the Biden Administration urging it to pressure Saudi Arabia into ending its deadly blockade.

Here are some key clips from the HFAC hearing and a particularly interesting exchange at the SFRC hearing.

The following quote can be attributed to Cavan Kharrazian, Progressive Foreign Policy Campaigner at Demand Progress:

“We applaud the lawmakers who asked tough questions during the hearings and made sure that the US-backed Saudi blockade of Yemen remained front and center in the conversation. The comments, questions, and framing that we heard during these hearings clearly demonstrate the important impact that advocates both in and outside of Congress have had in the past few months.

However, we are extremely disappointed that the U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen could not provide any key details regarding President Biden’s announced end to US support for Saudi-led offensive in Yemen nearly two months ago. Furthermore, the envoy confirmed the United States has been asking Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade since May 2020, but could not answer if the US has conveyed any consequences over Saudi inaction, nor if the US continues to support and maintain the Royal Saudi Air Force.

As one child in Yemen dies every seventy-five seconds due to both the economic and military fronts of the war, it is exceptionally troubling that Congress and the American people have no idea if the United States is using the full weight of its leverage to ensure the free flow of goods into Yemen or if we have ended support for offensive operations.

These hearings provided further evidence that members of Congress must use every tool at their disposal to reassert their constitutional authority over war-making.”