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RELEASE: HOUSE PASSES KHANNA AMENDMENT TO END SUPPORT FOR SAUDI-LED COALITION’S WAR IN YEMEN

September 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – September 23, 2021 – Today, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT),  Chairman Adam Smith (WA-09), Chairman Adam Schiff (CA-28), and Rep. Jayapal (WA-07) cheered the passage of their amendment in the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war against the Houthis in Yemen. 

“The passage of our amendment as part of this year’s NDAA sends a clear signal to the government of Saudi Arabia that they must end their war of attrition, support a political settlement, and make amends. Under President Biden, the United States is embracing a new era of foreign policy, one that centers around human rights and diplomatic solutions instead of military force,” said Rep. Khanna. “Next, our amendment will head to NDAA conference negotiations, and I will continue to push for its inclusion in the final conference report so that President Biden can sign it into law. It’s time to do what is morally right, hold Saudi Arabia accountable, and fully end U.S. complicity in the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing of Yemeni civilians.” 

“For years I have advocated for responsible US foreign policy that will bring about an end to the War in Yemen, and I am proud of our continued efforts to affect this end. Our collective goal has been, and must remain, to bring about an end to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world as swiftly as possible,” said Rep. Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “That means holding Saudi Arabia to account and urging them to take steps to alleviate the humanitarian and economic crisis. But an end to the war also requires the Houthis to end their assault of Marib – which threatens over 1 million internally displaced persons who are at risk of starvation – cease offensive attacks against Saudi civilian infrastructure, and return to the negotiating table to end the horrific war. As the NDAA advances through the legislative process and we move on to conference with the Senate, I will continue to fight for all the provisions in the bill that will help us accomplish our goal: ending the ongoing atrocity in Yemen.”

“There is no military solution to the horrific war in Yemen, and the ongoing suffering within the country demands the United States do everything in its power to bring the conflict to an end. Stopping U.S. aid from funding the Saudi Arabian coalition fueling the war in Yemen is a moral imperative, as well as in our national security interests. I want to thank Congressman Khanna for his leadership on this issue and for insisting the U.S. cease its funding of war and human suffering in Yemen,” said Rep. Schiff

“We continue to see Saudi warplanes — with U.S. maintenance, logistics, and spare parts — conduct relentless airstrikes and help enforce a brutal blockade on the country that has made food, fuel, and medicine exceedingly scarce for millions of desperate civilians,” said Rep. Jayapal. “This urgent amendment will finally end our unauthorized military participation in the Saudi-led war on Yemen that has claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. In the wake of this resounding bipartisan vote, we call on the Senate to follow suit and ensure that this provision is included in the final Pentagon authorization to finally end this war.”

The NDAA’s inclusion of this amendment would terminate U.S. logistical support, and the transfer of spare parts to Saudi warplanes conducting aerial strikes. It would also enshrine into law the Biden Administration’s decision to end intelligence sharing that enable offensive strikes and end any U.S. effort to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany Saudi-led coalition forces in the war. 

This is the first NDAA since the start of the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention in 2015 when Democrats have had control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. Similar versions of this  amendment previously passed out of the House in 2019 and again in 2020, but were stripped out by the Trump administration in NDAA conference negotiations. The 2019 amendment virtually identical to today’s, was supported by now-senior Biden officials, who wrote then that “the Khanna-Smith-Schiff-Jayapal amendment could hasten the Saudi government’s recognition that there is no military solution to the war.” President Biden has publicly promised to end American support for Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen, and this amendment would build on President Biden’s initial steps to curb U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition.

The full list of cosponsors includes Adam Smith (WA-09), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Jim Himes (CT-04), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Katie Porter (CA-45), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Peter Welch (VT-AL). 

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