Washington, D.C. — December 13, 2018 — In response to the Senate voting 56-41 to pass S.J.Res. 54, legislation to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action’s Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs, released the following statement:
“In a historic vote, over the Trump administration’s strong objection, the Senate just directed President Trump to withdraw U.S. military support for the war in Yemen. U.S. support for the war has given the Saudi-led coalition both the material support and the political cover it has needed to sustain its brutal campaign in Yemen. This vote immediately diminishes U.S. political support for the war and puts more pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to end their brutal tactics and negotiate an end to the war. As the Saudi-led coalition would struggle to sustain the war effort without U.S. support, congressional action leading up to this extraordinary vote may well have contributed to the progress in negotiations in Sweden where the parties to the war just agreed to a ceasefire in and around Hodeidah, a key port city for the delivery of humanitarian aid. Beyond its significance for the people of Yemen, by successfully invoking the War Powers Act, this vote also heralds the beginning of the end of Congress’ abdication of its war powers after nearly two decades of endless war with no meaningful oversight from Congress.
“The Trump administration needs to listen to the growing bipartisan consensus in Congress that U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen must end without delay. With this strong bipartisan action in the Senate, Republican leadership in the House needs to stop blocking the will of the majority and allow a vote in the House without delay. If the Trump administration does not act to end the unconstitutional U.S. role in Yemen, the incoming Congress will move to force its hand next year.
“This vote is the culmination of years of work by champions in the Senate like Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Mike Lee (R-UT), by peace groups, human rights groups, and political groups from across the political spectrum, and by grassroots activists across the nation demanding Congress take action to end the unconstitutional U.S. role in Yemen. This vote is a testament to the power of political activism, and a reminder that we must continue the struggle for a just and responsible foreign policy, because that struggle makes a difference.”
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to international conflicts. The public may learn more and take action at www.PeaceAction.org.