We are on a historic precipice for Congress reclaiming its constitutional war powers.
The House will vote as early as tomorrow on the Yemen War Powers Resolution to end US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the exclusive power to initiate military hostilities. Congress has never authorized the US to participate in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Yet, both the Trump and Obama Administrations have participated in the war. While the Saudi-led coalition has been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, targeting civilians, and plunging eight million people into famine, the US has been helping to refuel Saudi planes in midair and sharing intelligence for targeting assistance.
Whether you think US intervention in Yemen is a good idea or a bad idea, this is a matter for Congress to decide. Before undertaking such a military action the people have a right to weigh in on whether they think such action is justified, within our national interests, and/or morally acceptable. Tell Congress to reclaim their war powers!
We know this type of conflict can quickly escalate. In 1959, the US had just 750 military advisers in Vietnam. Less than a decade later, we had over half a million troops there. The very real danger of escalation is precisely why the War Powers Act defines hostilities requiring Congressional authorization broadly. This fact, coupled with the very serious accusation of Saudi war crimes in Yemen, means it is imperative that Congress debate the US military role in Yemen and give the people a chance to weigh in.
Last year, thanks to a massive outpouring of outrage from people like you, history was made. The Senate voted to, for the first time in history, invoke the War Powers Act to end US military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. War Powers Resolutions are typically “privileged,” meaning that their sponsors can bring them to the floor for a vote without going through a committee. Yet, last session the cowardly House leadership did everything in their power to prevent a bipartisan Yemen War Powers Resolution from coming to the floor. In a shocking move last December, just as the Senate was preparing to pass their resolution, the House voted to strip all war powers resolutions concerning Yemen of their privileged status for the remainder of the Congressional session. Thus, while the Senate voted to end the illegal war, the House refused to take up the matter.
But that was last session and there’s new leadership in Congress now. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) has reintroduced the Yemen War Powers Resolution. The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance it. It will come to the floor for a vote as early as tomorrow. Tell your Representative to support it.