Today is historic. This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen. I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role.
I applaud all cosponsors for supporting this historic effort and thank my 248 colleagues who voted yes on passage today, especially Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer, HASC Chair Smith, HFAC Chair Engel, Rules Chair McGovern, CPC Co-Chair Pocan and nearly 100 cosponsors of my resolution. I’d also like to thank Senator Sanders for being my thought partner and co-lead on this work in the upper chamber.
Like last year’s passage of S.J.Res. 54, the passage of this resolution is a significant assertion of Congressional authority in matters of war. While opponents of the measure desperately tried to deny that the U.S. was involved in hostilities in Yemen, the evidence of extensive U.S. involvement over the last four years made that an untenable claim. Despite years of lies from this administration and the Pentagon, most House members could recognize an unauthorized U.S. war when they saw one. Despite the constant fear-mongering of pro-Saudi hawks in both houses, most House members understood that the war serves no American interests and implicates us in war crimes and crimes against humanity. When the only argument that the war’s supporters had was to keep shouting “Iran!” at the other side, it was just a matter of time before they lost.
It is unfortunate that it has taken almost four years for Congress to act on U.S. involvement in the war, but it has not been for lack of effort on the part of the war’s opponents. In just the last two years, we have seen the war on Yemen go from being almost completely invisible and ignored to becoming the focus of the most important antiwar vote in modern U.S. history. The successful passage of H.J.Res. 37 has once again forced the issue to center stage, and it sets up an overdue fight with the executive over war powers and over our relationship with the Saudis and the rest of the coalition.
There is still much more to be done. The people of Yemen remain in dire need of help as they face famine, cholera, displacement, poverty, and continued war, and we know that the Trump administration will fight to keep U.S. support for the war going as long as they can. Nonetheless, today’s vote was a huge step in the right direction, and it is a success that advocates for peace and restraint can be proud of.