House passes resolution to withdraw U.S. troops from Yemen along with questionable amendments
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives issued a resolution that would remove U.S. troops on the ground in Yemen (although the president has indicated he would veto the measure if it makes it across his desk).
The resolution comes off the heels of the Saudi Arabian government-sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family and journalist for the Washington Post. In light of his murder, bipartisan unease over the war in Yemen, which is being fought by a Saudi-led coalition against rebel forces, has been festering. The House voted 248-177 to approve the measure. If the Senate approves of the resolution and it overcomes a presidential veto, Congress would utilize the War Powers Resolution for the first time to stop military intervention.
During the resolution’s hearings, California Democratic representative Barbara Lee said, “We have helped create, and worsen, the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Our involvement in this war, quite frankly, is shameful.”
Ro Khanna, the Democratic Representative from California’s 17th congressional district, shared on Twitter, “With my resolution passing the House, we are closer than ever to ending our complicity in this humanitarian catastrophe.”
With my resolution passing the House, we are closer than ever to ending our complicity in this humanitarian catastrophe. And with @BernieSanders' leadership, a War Powers Resolution will pass through both chambers of Congress for the first time in history.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) February 13, 2019
Ro Khanna also told the Guardian in an interview, “It’s not just about Yemen. It’s about the Congress taking a stand and every future president having to think twice about whether to authorize a military intervention without congressional approval.”
Congress may enter a deadlock with presidential administration if Trump decides to veto the measure. While Trump has been vocal about withdrawing U.S. troops from Syira and Afghanistan, he has been silent on Yemen due to America’s relationship with its regional ally, Saudi Arabia.
While Congress is considering decreasing American presence in foreign policy, the House included an amendment to reaffirm its strategic alliance with Israel to “combat anti-Semitism around the world.” The amendment comes after Ilhan Omar, the Somali Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota, was reprimanded by leaders of both parties for commenting that AIPAC puts financial pressure on U.S. politicians to remain pro-Israel. Amid GOP pressure, the House also added another amendment that would expand the parameters of intelligence sharing and allow the president to provide Saudi Arabia information on Yemen.
Critics decried the amendments, saying it provides exceptions to a resolution intended to end military intervention.