House GOP moves to block resolution that would end US military involvement in Yemen civil war

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House Republicans are moving to block a vote on a resolution that would end all U.S. military support to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), backed by top Democrats, introduced the War Powers resolution in September. Because the resolution invoked the War Powers Act, it was privileged, meaning Democrats could theoretically have forced a vote on it.

But on Tuesday night, the House Rules Committee adopted, in a 6-2 vote on party lines, a rule for floor debate for an unrelated bill that includes a provision stripping Khanna’s resolution of its privileged status.

{mosads}The full House is expected to consider the rule, for the “Manage our Wolves Act,” later Wednesday.

Khanna on Tuesday lashed out at the Republican’s move on Twitter.

“The Republicans tomorrow are trying to bury my Yemen War Powers Resolution in a rule that would prevent an up or down vote,” Khanna tweeted Tuesday night. “This is unprecedented and would undermine the very purpose of the War Powers Act. Anyone who cares about Article I of the Constitution should be outraged.”

On Friday night, the Trump administration announced the U.S. military would no longer provide aerial refueling for Saudi coalition planes, one of the most visible and controversial aspects of U.S. support for the coalition.

The Pentagon and Riyadh framed the announcement as a Saudi decision, saying they now have the capability to refuel their own planes.

But the decision came after mounting congressional pressure. U.S. lawmakers have been increasingly concerned about the civilian death toll in the war, and U.S.-Saudi relations have also faced increased scrutiny after the October killing of U.S.-based journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Khanna’s resolution was unnecessary after Friday’s announcement.

“The U.S. is no longer providing the very support that this bill seeks to cut off thus making it unnecessary,” spokeswoman AshLee Strong said. “It is based on a factually faulty premise. We are not involved in ‘hostilities’ in Yemen so the War Powers Act does not apply. As a result, even if this passed both chambers and was signed by the president, DOD would not need to alter its activities.”

Strong also highlighted Khanna’s similar effort last year, which resulted in a compromise nonbinding resolution that passed that called U.S. military involvement the war unauthorized.

“The House has spoken on this issue,” Strong said.

Critics of U.S. support for the Saudis were pleased with the decision on aerial refueling, but said all U.S. military support for the coalition must end.

The United States provides the coalition with other logistics and intelligence, as well as billions of dollars in arms sales.

Khanna, expecting the resolution to either be blocked or fail in a Republican-controlled House, has previously said he would reintroduce it when Democrats control the House in January.

Tags House Paul Ryan Ro Khanna Saudi Coalition war powers act yemen civil war

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