The House Rebukes Trump on Yemen Again

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

The House passed two amendments to the defense authorization bill yesterday related to the war on Yemen. The first prohibited the administration from using funds to support the Saudi coalition:

But the most consequential amendments on Thursday continued Congress’s months-long effort to intervene in the Yemen conflict and punish Saudi Arabia for the murder of the dissident Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Lawmakers voted 236 to 193 to prohibit the administration from using funds to support the Saudi-led military operations – either with munitions or with intelligence – against the Houthis in Yemen, a conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and resulted in a widespread famine in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The other amendment blocked the arms sales related to the bogus “emergency” declared by the Trump administration:

In an answer to the administration’s decision in May to declare an emergency over Iran in order to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Congress’s wishes, the House on Thursday voted 246 to 180 on a measure by Representative Ted Lieu, Democrat of California, to block those sales. The emergency declaration infuriated lawmakers from both parties in both the House and the Senate.

The passage of the amendment on arms sales shows that majorities in both houses are clearly opposed to Trump’s abuse of power in declaring the phony “emergency” to provide Saudi Arabia and the UAE with more weapons. The Senate had previously passed resolutions of disapproval to oppose these arms sales and the president’s attempt to circumvent Congress. The passage of the amendment barring the use of funds to support the Saudi coalition shows that the House majority is not giving up on the effort to end U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen.

Opposition to the war hasn’t waned, and thanks to Rep. Ro Khanna the House keeps rebuking Trump over his shameful ongoing support for the Saudi coalition. The House has proven it is willing to use the power of the purse to halt US involvement in an unauthorized foreign war, and that is an important reassertion of a Congressional power that usually lies dormant when it comes to our government’s illegal wars. There is a chance that these amendments will survive in the final bill after the House and Senate reconcile their different versions, and if that happens Trump would have to veto the entire defense authorization bill to continue enabling the Saudi coalition’s atrocious war.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.