Invoking War Powers Act for First Time, Senate Moves to End Illegal US War in Yemen

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Yesterday, the Senate voted to end the US’s illegal, unauthorized military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

This is historic. Never has either chamber voted to invoke the War Powers Act.

This could not have happened without grassroots pressure. In March of this year the Senate had a chance to consider an identical resolution. At the time, the immediate result was not what we wanted. In a cowardly move, in the Senate voted 55-44 to table the bill, meaning the Senate wouldn’t even debate it.

Yet, after Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Mike Lee (R-UT) re-introduced their resolution last month things began to change. War Powers Resolutions are privileged, meaning their sponsors can bypass the committees and leadership and bring them directly to the floor. In spite of this, every single War Powers Resolution–whether on Yemen or a different US war–has been tabled.

Not this time though. The Senate voted to hold a debate and vote on the US’s illegal participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And now they’ve voted, 56-41, to reclaim their constitutional war powers.

It’s hard to understate what an unprecedented moment this is. People like you contacting their senators and demanding they take action on the Saudi-led war in Yemen helped turn the tide.

Unfortunately, our victory today is incomplete. While the Senate took this historic move, yesterday the House of Representatives voted to strip all war powers resolutions pertaining to Yemen of their privileged status for the remainder of the session. This means it is extremely unlikely the House will even vote on this resolution.

While this is a disgraceful move by the House leadership–and one of many attempts to suppress a vote on the unconstitutional war in Yemen in the House–it does not diminish the historic nature of today’s vote. And the fight is far from over. When an identical resolution was tabled back in March, we thought it was the end. And here we are today celebrating a victory in the Senate.