WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday introduced two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 aimed at reaffirming U.S. national security. The first prohibits the use of funds to support the Saudi-led coalition’s military campaign in Yemen unless the U.S. Secretary of Defense certifies that all members of the coalition are in compliance with end-use agreements, and that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has submitted to Congress the results of any investigations into unauthorized third party transfers and taken corrective action.
The second amendment directs the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Khalifa Haftar and his immediate family in response to Haftar’s military cooperation with the Russian military and the Wagner Group. The amendment highlights recent statements and testimony by DoD officials confirming that Russia is providing military assistance to Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya. It also includes a Sense of Congress that ongoing violations of the United Nation’s arms embargo on Libya by Russia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Turkey are detrimental to peace and stability.
“What we’ve learned over the past four years is that President Trump aligns his foreign policy with Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman over the interests of the United States. News that Russia has been offering bounties for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan only reaffirms just how far President Trump is willing to sell out our national security interests, and the need for Congress to right his wrongs. That’s why I’m offering an amendment requiring the Administration to use its existing authority to sanction Khalifa Haftar and target any assets he or his family may have in the United States as a way of diminishing Russia’s hand in Libya. And beyond there, we’ve seen the war in Yemen go on for too long with U.S. arms being used to kill civilians. That’s why I’ve also offered an amendment that stops U.S. assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen,” said Murphy.
Since 2015, Murphy has been a critic of U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. He has repeatedly expressed concern that U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia’s military actions against Houthi rebels in Yemen threatens our own national security interests. Following the murder of Khashoggi, Murphy reiterated his call for the suspension of military support for the Saudi-led campaign in a Washington Post op-ed. In 2018, Murphy introduced a bipartisan resolution with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) pursuant to the War Powers Act to end unauthorized U.S. military involvement. The resolution passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate earlier this year before being vetoed by President Trump. This was the first time since the War Powers Act became law in 1973 that both houses of Congressed passed a War Powers Act resolution.