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A Historic Vote to End U.S. Support for the War in Yemen

December 10, 2018

The Senate recently voted to advance legislation that will end American participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. As of press time, the Senate still needs to hold a final vote on this issue, but it is expected before the end of the 115th Congress.

“This victory is a testament to the power of grassroots activism across the country to bring about change,” said Diane Randall, FCNL’s Executive Secretary. “This vote sets a historic precedent for future action Congress can take to reclaim its constitutional authority over war and end American involvement in wars around the world.”

For the first time in its history, the Senate voted to advance legislation to withdraw U.S. military forces from an unauthorized war using the War Powers Resolution. The procedural vote on the Sanders-Lee-Murphy legislation (S.J.Res. 54) gained 63 ayes and 37 nays. In March 2018, senators declined to take up the same measure, defeating it 55-44.

“This Senate vote marks the beginning of the end of American complicity in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis,” said Kate Gould, FCNL’s Legislative Director for Middle East Policy.

The Saudi-led war and de-facto blockade of Yemen has plunged the country into the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimates that 3 million Yemenis have been displaced by the war and the country’s economy is in ruins. Some 14 million people — half of Yemen’s population — are on the brink of starvation.

U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Yemen has included arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies, mid-air refueling of coalition aircraft, and targeting and logistical support.

While the Trump administration announced a halt to refueling support for the coalition earlier, the decision was not binding, and could resume at any time in the absence of legislation signed into law like S.J. Res. 54.