Committee Advances Bill to Withdraw U.S. Forces Helping Saudi Coalition in Yemen
Do you support withdrawing U.S. forces assisting the Saudi coalition?
by Countable | 2.6.19
The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Wednesday to debate American policy in the Arabian Peninsula and advanced a bill that’d require the withdrawal of U.S. military forces assisting the coalition led by Saudi Arabia against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), would require the withdrawal of U.S. forces assisting the Saudi coalition within 30 days of enactment (except for those involved in actions against al Qaeda in Yemen) under authority granted Congress by the War Powers Resolution. In particular, it’d prohibit the provision of aerial refueling assistance ― the primary way that the U.S. military has been assisting the coalition against the Houthis.
Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) said that Saudi Arabia shouldn’t receive a blank check because of its historic partnership with the U.S. and that the kingdom must be held accountable for its conduct in the war in Yemen:
“We cannot look the other way when it comes to the recklessness with which the Saudi-led coalition has conducted its operations in Yemen I’m not just talking about one tragic screw-up, though that would be bad enough. The coalition’s operations have been characterized by strike after strike that has resulted in unnecessary civilian casualties.”
Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) contended that this bill is unnecessary because aerial refueling operations ended in November, so there are no longer any U.S. forces involved in hostilities that’d make the War Powers Resolution a relevant tool.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to advance the bill on a 25-17 party-line vote.
What’s the path forward for the bill?
Now that it has cleared the House Foreign Affairs Committee, House leadership could put it on the schedule for a floor vote in the near future. If there’s a delay, members could try to force its consideration using tool known as a discharge petition that was used to bring up similar legislation in the last Congress ― which passed the Senate 56-41 in December 2018.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: TSgt. Jason Robertson / Public Domain)
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