Paul Ryan’s Last Act: Protecting Barack Obama’s Illegal War in Yemen with Democrat Votes

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Lame-duck Speaker Paul Ryan managed to shepherd through a motion protecting President Barack Obama’s illegal war in Yemen, thanks to five Democrats who joined the Republican majority to pass the measure.

Speaker Paul Ryan attached a rule on Tuesday night to the Conference Report for the 2018 Farm bill which would block a potential War Powers resolution vote on America’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The rule passed through the House 206-203, featuring strong Republican support for the rule, along with five Democrats who voted for the measure. Eighteen Republicans and 185 Democrats against the measure.

Ryan’s actions serve as a rare instance in which matters of foreign policy were attached domestic policy; although, 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.

The five Democrats who voted for the measure are Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MA), David Scott (D-GA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Jim Costa (D-CA), and Al Lawson (D-FL).

Had the Democrats not joined Republicans in voting for this rule, Ryan’s rule would have failed and Ryan’s ploy would have failed on the House floor. There were enough Republicans to tank the rule– five Democrats saved the rule.

Prominent Republican conservatives such as Reps. Dave Brat (R-VA), Justin Amash (R-MI), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Scott Perry (R-PA) voted against Ryan’s motion.

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. 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?

Khanna said:

Not only are the Republicans turning off the privileged status for H. Con Res 142, breaking the rules of the House, they are turning off the privileged status for all War Powers Resolutions related to Yemen for the rest of this Congress. This is unprecedented. Speaker Ryan is preventing Congress from conducting our constitutional duty and once again, breaking the rules of the House. While this is happening, the United States Senate is debating and voting on this issue.

Khanna wrote in a tweet on Wednesday:

Once again the GOP is using parliamentary tricks to block our effort to end the devastating war in Yemen. Every 10 minutes a Yemeni child is dying. @SpeakerRyan is using his remaining power to protect the Saudis who are aligned w/ al-Qaeda and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Massie wrote on Twitter after the vote on Wednesday, “By a vote of 206 to 203 congress just flushed our War Powers down the toilet. SAD!”

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