House votes on US involvement in Yemen
© Getty Images

The House adopted a measure on Monday to call for a political solution to the conflict in Yemen as a compromise to a bipartisan group of lawmakers who had sought a vote on a measure to stop the U.S. military’s participation.

The resolution, which passed 366-30 with one lawmaker, Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonMany Democrats want John Bolton's testimony, but Pelosi stays mum House passes police reform bill that faces dead end in Senate House to pass sweeping police reform legislation MORE (D-Ga.), voting “present,” denounces the targeting of civilian populations in Yemen and calls on all parties involved to “increase efforts to adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent civilian casualties and increase humanitarian access.”

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaSome in Congress want to keep sending our troops to Afghanistan House panel votes to limit Trump's Germany withdrawal It's time to eliminate land-based nuclear missiles MORE (D-Calif.) had initially led a bipartisan effort with Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: DC's Bowser says protesters and nation were 'assaulted' in front of Lafayette Square last month; Brazil's Bolsonaro, noted virus skeptic, tests positive for COVID-19 Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE (D-Wis.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieBiggs, Massie call on Trump to remove troops from Afghanistan Massie wins House GOP primary despite Trump call to be ousted from party Rep. Massie called out by primary opponent for previous display of Confederate flag MORE (R-Ky.) and Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesExperts warn Georgia's new electronic voting machines vulnerable to potential intrusions, malfunctions Georgia restores 22,000 voter registrations after purge Stacey Abrams group files emergency motion to stop Georgia voting roll purge MORE (R-N.C.) to push a vote on a resolution to end the U.S. military’s involvement in the war against the Houthis in Yemen.

ADVERTISEMENT

The compromise resolution negotiated with leadership of both parties, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Rules Committee does not go nearly as far.

Apart from calling for an end to the violence in Yemen and encouraging other governments to provide humanitarian resources, the resolution notes that Congress has not enacted specific legislation allowing the use of military force against entities in the Yemen conflict that aren’t already subject to congressional authorizations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This resolution makes abundantly clear that we cannot be assisting the Saudi regime in any of its fight with the Houthi regime. And we have to limit our involvement in Yemen to take on al-Qaeda and to take on the terrorists that threaten the United States,” Khanna said during House floor debate.

The Houthis took over Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2015 and ousted the internationally recognized government. Since then, the Saudi-backed military forces in support of the government have been unable to push out the Houthis.

As acknowledged in Khanna’s resolution, the U.S. has engaged in intelligence cooperation and provided assistance to Saudi-led multinational coalition planes conducting bombings against the Houthi rebel movement. The U.S. is also providing humanitarian aid to victims of the war.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) stressed that the U.S. military is only providing assistance to Yemen and is not actively engaged in fighting.

“Though we provide logistics to our Saudi partners in the region, United States forces are not conducting hostilities against Houthi forces in Yemen,” Royce said.

Khanna’s resolution cites an estimate from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that at least 10,000 Yemeni civilians have died in the war over the last two years.

The House had previously considered measures regarding the U.S. involvement in Yemen during debate on the annual defense policy bill earlier this year.

The House adopted an amendment from Rep. Rick NolanRichard (Rick) Michael NolanHold off on anti-mining hysteria until the facts are in Minnesota New Members 2019 Republicans pick up seat in Minnesota’s ‘Iron range’ MORE (D-Minn.) to the defense policy legislation in July that would prohibit the use of funds to deploy members of the armed forces to participate in Yemen’s civil war. Another amendment from Rep. Warren DavidsonWarren Earl DavidsonGOP-Trump fractures on masks open up House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA MORE (R-Ohio) would block the use of funds for military operations in Yemen outside the jurisdiction of the 2001 authorization of military force for the war in Afghanistan.

Both amendments were adopted by voice vote.

Lawmakers in both parties have pushed for revising the authorizations of military force in Afghanistan and Iraq that have since expanded to other conflicts over the past nearly two decades.

Under the War Powers Resolution, Congress can direct U.S. military forces to be removed from a country if there is not an official declaration of war.

In 2015, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHouse to vote next week on ridding Capitol of Confederate statues State legislatures consider US Capitol's Confederate statues House eyes votes to remove symbols of Confederates from Capitol MORE (D-Calif.) and Jones pushed a vote on a resolution to withdraw troops abroad fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) given the lack of a formal congressional authorization for military action against the terrorist group.

But a bipartisan majority in the House voted to reject the resolution, warning that abruptly moving to withdraw troops amid escalating violence in the region would undermine U.S. military strategy.