Click here to view video of Murphy’s remarks
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), and U.S. Representatives Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) on Wednesday renewed their efforts in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. Last year, Murphy, Sanders and Lee were successful in passing a joint resolution in the U.S. Senate to remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in Yemen pursuant to the War Powers Act. The resolution passed 56-41. This was the first time since the War Powers Act became law in 1973 that the U.S. Senate successfully passed a resolution pursuant to the law.
“For years, I have been sounding the alarm about the disastrous U.S. involvement in the civil war in Yemen. Late last year, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate woke up and came together to pass our War Powers Resolution. We sent a strong message to Saudi Arabia that they can no longer expect a blank check from the United States. With the new Democratic majority in the House, I am optimistic that Congress will once again sound the alarm over the atrocities committed in Yemen and end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition that is killing thousands of civilians, blocking humanitarian aid, and arming radical militias,” said Murphy.
“With the first-ever passage of a War Powers Resolution last month, the United States Senate said in no uncertain terms that we will not continue to have our military posture dictated by a despotic, murderous regime in Saudi Arabia. We look forward to quickly passing this resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. We are going to send a strong signal to the president that the U.S. Congress is prepared to play the role designed for us by the framers of the Constitution,” said Sanders.
“The Founders specifically gave Congress – the branch closest to the people – the power to declare war. Yet we’ve been participating in war actions in the Yemeni Civil War since 2015 without the go-ahead from Congress. It was unconstitutional then, and it’s unconstitutional now. Today we are reintroducing the same resolution this body passed just last month and we look forward to swift action here in the Senate and the House,” said Lee.
“The U.S.-Saudi military campaign in Yemen has triggered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 14 million Yemenis—half the country—are on the brink of famine, and at least 85,000 children have already died from hunger and disease as a result of the war. I’m proud to partner with colleagues and work to end U.S. military participation in the Saudi regime’s war in Yemen by reasserting Congress’ constitutional role on matters of war and peace. I am confident this will pass in the House when brought for a vote,” said Khanna.
“As the Saudi-led coalition continues to use famine as a weapon of war, starving millions of innocent Yemenis to near death, the United States is actively participating in the regime’s military campaign, providing targeting and logistical assistance for Saudi airstrikes. For far too long, Congress has refused to carry out its constitutional responsibility to make decisions regarding military engagement—we can longer stay silent on matters of war and peace. I’m grateful to my colleagues for joining us in introducing this resolution, and for House Leadership’s commitment to removing U.S. forces from this senseless conflict and bringing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis to a swift end,” said Pocan.
Since the beginning of this conflict in 2015, Murphy has been a vocal critic of the United States’ support for the Saudi-led civil war in Yemen that has led to devastating humanitarian consequences and a security vacuum that has empowered terrorist groups, like ISIS and al Qaeda, to grow stronger in the region. Murphy reiterated his call for the suspension of military support for the Saudi-led campaign throughout the years, and echoed his call in an op-ed in the Washington Post after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In September, Murphy renewed his call to cease support for the Saudi-led campaign following a United Nations report that found continued human rights violations. Murphy introduced an amendment to the FY 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations bill that would cut off United States’ support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war in Yemen until the Secretary of Defense certified that the coalition’s air campaign is not violating international law and U.S. policy. Senate Republicans objected to voting on Murphy’s amendment. Murphy introduced similar legislation in 2017.
The Sanders-Lee-Murphy joint resolution is guaranteed a vote in the Senate in accordance with the procedures outlined in the International Security and Arms Export Control Act of 1976. It will be referred to the Foreign Relations Committee and if it hasn’t been reported within 10 calendar days, it is subject to a motion to discharge. If reported or discharged from committee, the motion to proceed to the measure is privileged. The joint resolution is debatable for 10 hours on the Senate floor.
Murphy, Sanders, Lee, and Pocan were joined at a press conference earlier today by U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.).
The text of the Senate resolution can be viewed here.
Senator Murphy’s remarks can be viewed here.