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RELEASE: Rep. Khanna Wins Debate on U.S. Involvement on Yemen and Strikes Compromise with House Leadership

November 2, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – In early October, Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Walter Jones (R-NC), introduced a bipartisan resolution, H.CON.RES.81, to stop U.S. military participation in Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis in Yemen.

After weeks of good faith negotiations with both Republican and Democratic House leadership, an agreement was reached that will allow for an hour-long debate on the United States (U.S.) involvement in the Yemen Civil War on the House floor for the first time. Involved in negotiations were the offices of Speaker Paul Ryan, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Rules Committee.

For the first time, the House will debate a resolution that acknowledges the U.S. has been fueling Saudi-led coalition planes and providing intelligence assistance against the Houthi-Saleh Alliance rebels. With this legislation, the House would recognize that Congress has not authorized U.S. forces participating in this Saudi-led war against the Houthis. The resolution also encourages the international community to provide resources necessary to address the humanitarian crisis.

“This resolution moves the debate in a positive direction. While I’m disappointed that H.CON.RES.81 will lose its privileged status and not come to the floor for a vote, this compromise represents a step forward. The resolution acknowledges that our government is assisting the Saudi refueling, and acknowledges that such activity is unauthorized,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “I do not agree with all the provisions of the compromise resolution, particularly its failure to highlight Saudi Arabia’s crimes against civilians and its exaggeration of Iran’s role in Yemen. But re-orienting our foreign policy away from our Saudi alliance and away from neocon/neoliberal interventionism is a long-term project. I am hopeful this compromise resolution and ensuing debate and briefings will begin that process.”

The resolution debate and vote is expected the week of November 13, 2017.

Currently, the U.S. provides mid-air refueling for Saudi and UAE warplanes that are conducting air strikes in Yemen, as well as assistance with bomb targeting. The bombing campaign supports a blockade that prevents food and medicine reaching the people of Yemen resulting in a devastating humanitarian crisis. Nearly 19 million Yemenis are suffering from food insecurity, or 60 percent of the population, and a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes and diseases.

The war in Yemen is an entirely separate war from the fight against Al Qaeda, yet Congress has never authorized it. Just yesterday, Reuters reported that an air strike by the Saudi-led military coalition killed 26 people.

Over the weekend, 65 human rights and activist groups signed a letter to Congress urging support for H.Con.Res. 81. That resolution currently has 39 cosponsors and has been endorsed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“I particularly want to thank Whip Hoyer for his diligent efforts to help craft a resolution on U.S. involvement in Yemen and to reach an agreement with Republicans for it to be considered by the House. This is an important debate for Congress to have, and I appreciate Whip Hoyer’s dedication to ensuring this debate can be held and his focus on shining a light on the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen,” said. Rep. Ro Khanna. I also want to acknowledge the staffs of Leader Pelosi, Ranking Member Engel, and Representative McGovern for their leadership.”


About the Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.

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Press Office: 202-225-2631