TEHRAN (defapress) – A bipartisan group of US lawmakers including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee renewed their efforts in the House and the Senate to stop providing Saudi Arabia with US military assistance for its aggression against Yemen.
News ID: 75325
Publish Date: 01February 2019 - 12:40
While Saudi warplanes continue to bomb Yemen, some lawmakers in Congress have grown concerned about the involvement of the US military supporting the Saudi regime and its questionable human rights record. The legislation passed the Senate in the last Congress, but it was never brought to a vote in the House.
Constitutional conservatives like Lee have opposed the legislation because the Obama and Trump administrations did not receive congressional approval to aid the Saudis. The lawmakers are pushing for the legislation, which has the backing of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to receive a vote in February, Washington Examiner reported.
“The Founders specifically gave Congress — the branch closest to the people — the power to declare war,” Lee said in a statement.
“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.”
“We look forward to quickly passing this resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. We are going to send a strong signal to the president that the US Congress is prepared to play the role designed for us by the framers of the Constitution,” Sanders said.
Opposition to supporting the Saudis gained additional power last fall after the death of Saudi Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi government. Lawmakers have accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being complicit in Khashoggi’s murder, but the crown prince has denied the allegations.
But it’s not expected that the Trump administration will get on board with the measure, given that the White House warned it would veto the Senate measure in the last Congress. The Trump administration values its relationship with Saudi Arabia and considers Saudi Arabia a key figure in undermining Iran’s influence in the region.
Separately, a piece of legislation was also introduced on Wednesday that would bar the US from providing in-flight refueling to Saudi Arabia and Saudi-led coalitions participating in assignments in Yemen as aircraft continue to target civilians.
“Nothing makes the United States more complicit in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen than our mid-air refueling of aircraft on their way to bombing runs,” Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., said in a statement. “This bill makes clear that if Saudi Arabia will not listen to American advice it will not receive direct American assistance.”