WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday released a statement following today’s vote passing the bipartisan joint resolution he introduced with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in Yemen pursuant to the War Powers Act. Last month, the U.S. Senate voted 63-37 to begin debate on the resolution. 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.
“With this vote, Saudi Arabia just lost the support of Congress for their disastrous war in Yemen. A bipartisan majority spoke with one voice that the status quo is over and we will no longer accept the war crimes being committed in our name,” said Murphy. “The momentum is on one side, and it’s only growing. Congress has woken up to the reality that the Saudi-led Coalition is using U.S. military support to kill thousands of civilians, bomb hospitals, block humanitarian aid, and arm radical militias. The Saudis are important partners, but they need to realize that our partnership is not a blank check for them to fund extremists and murder civilians.”
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, and called on his colleagues to pass legislation to remove U.S. Armed Forces. The conflict 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 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. As a result of U.S. involvement assisting Saudi Arabia, we are potentially radicalizing young Yemenis against America and assisting in the starvation of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni citizens.
After the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October, Murphy reiterated his call for the suspension of military support for the Saudi-led campaign. He echoed his call in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
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. Earlier this year, 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 last year.
The resolution passed the U.S. Senate 56-41 and will now go to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.