America First: Senate Advances Resolution to End American Assistance in Yemen

Yemen war rivals lash out as talks start
SEAN MORAN

The Senate advanced a resolution on Wednesday that called for the end of American assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

The Senate passed a motion to proceed on S.J. Res. 54, 60-39, featuring strong bipartisan support for the advancement of the resolution. The bill would direct President Donald Trump to remove American armed forces from hostilities or affecting Yemen within 30 days.

A bipartisan populist coalition consisting of Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) have pushed for the United States to end an illegal U.S. war in which Congress did not provide authorization, as per the Constitution. Lee, Sanders, and Murphy have worked on this issue since March to end American involvement in Yemen.

A bipartisan collalition voted for the resolution on Wednesday featuring Republican Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim Risch (R-ID) and Democrats Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Murphy, and Sanders.

Now that the Senate voted the motion to proceed, the Senate could soon vote on the resolution calling for the end of American assistance to American involvement in Yemen.

The legislation was opposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who argued that the Senate could address the Yemen question in a more careful manner.

“There are more careful ways the Senate could express its concern about the conflict in Yemen or our partnership with Saudi Arabia,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Sen. Sanders wrote in a tweet on Wednesday:

Today the U.S. Senate will vote on whether to end US support for the devastating Saudi-led war in Yemen. This would be the first time ever that the Senate has voted to end an unauthorized war. We must finally end US involvement in this humanitarian and strategic disaster.

The House could not vote on a similar resolution on Wednesday because lame duck Speaker Paul Ryan attached a rule to the Conference Report on the 2018 Farm bill to prevent the House from voting on a War Powers resolution regarding Yemen for the rest of the congressional term. Republicans had enough votes to block the rule, but five Democrats joined Ryan to allow the rule to pass.

Ryan’s actions serve as a rare instance in which matters of foreign policy were attached to domestic policy. Ryan blocked a resolution by Massie and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) in November by including language in the Manage Our Wolves Act that would block a vote on America’s involvement in Yemen.

Khanna called Ryan’s move this week “unprecedented” and contended that Congress abdicated its constitutional responsibility to authorize or de-authorize military conflict.

Massie, in an interview with Breitbart News on Wednesday, said that American involvement in Yemen was not “America First.”

Massie told Breitbart News, “This is definitely not America First. We shouldn’t be spending our blood and treasure in the Middle East, and furthermore on another level, we shouldn’t be jeopardizing the passage of domestic policy and domestic spending with a foreign policy/ war issue.”

Massie added, “In other words, if you’re putting America First, why would you jeopardize passage of the Farm bill by sneaking in the War in Yemen through the Farm bill?”

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