Just Foreign Policy’s Robert Naiman joined Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matt Boyle and Deputy Political Editor Amanda House on Breitbart News Saturday to discuss the pending resolution on asserting the War Powers Act to rein in American involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.
Naiman, policy director for Just Foreign Policy, has been central in advocating for the bipartisan resolution, introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT). The resolution has since attracted a broad base on anti-interventionist support that transcends right-left ideological divides.
As Naiman explained, the Sanders-Lee-Murphy bill is facing its stiffest opposition from the political establishment of both parties, particularly in the person of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “He’s trying to block us,” Naiman explained. “He’s trying to block Sanders and me. He’s trying to do whatever he can to block the bill from passage, do whatever he can to block the bill from having a clean vote.”
Naiman also accused McConnell of “sowing confusion and fog to make things most favorable to parliamentary tricks that he would like to do to obstruct our view.”
Particularly galling was the use of the stated opposition of elements of administration, including the Department of Defense. “Are you kidding me? We’re trying to pass a law to stop the Department of Defense from doing something that it’s doing. And color me shocked that the Department of Defense doesn’t approve of our effort,” Naiman told Boyle. “Of course, they don’t approve of it; we’re trying to take power away from them.”
“Somebody needs to get to McConnell and say, ‘James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton had a fundamentally different idea about this. … This is supposed to happen in Congress,” Naiman said, referencing the inclusion of war powers under Congress’s authority in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution.
Another, far more mild bill merely asking for assurances from the State Department as to the conduct of U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, was filed Friday by Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Naiman was highly critical of this alternative, characterizing it as a mere attempt to distract from and avoid a clean vote on the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution.
“What we’re saying is leave our bill alone. … If you want to do your bill, wait for us to do our bill first,” Naiman said of this effort, explaining his group would be visiting Young and Shaheen’s offices to convince them to drop their effort until a vote on his preferred bill. “We are still very hopeful that we can get Young and Shaheen to back off.”
Boyle described the Young-Shaheen bill as a “fig leaf” engineered by the establishment, an assessment with which Naiman agreed. “You split the vote, nothing passes, and then you can say, ‘Oh, well, you had your vote.'”
Naiman went on to explain the decades-long effort by Saudi Arabia to build support among the American political establishment, ignoring the legislature and concentrating on a relationship with successive administrations and the Washington “swamp” of think tanks and lobbyists. “The way that the Saudis have gotten away with murder for so long is by having a special relationship with the executive branch and the deep state.”
“The more we challenge this, the more they throw their money around. But the thing to keep in mind on this is that if we get the American people engaged, and they get their pitchforks out, there’s no amount of money that will defeat us,” Naiman told Boyle and House.
Breitbart News Saturday is broadcast live on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Eastern.