ACLU Comment on Saudi-Yemen Resolution House Vote

February 13, 2019 5:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — The House passed a resolution today on the Saudi led-fight in Yemen that could result in further harm to Yemenis.

The House voted to bar the U.S. military from refueling Saudi and other foreign planes “conducting missions as part of the ongoing civil war in Yemen,” after the Department of Defense said it has already halted refueling. But members did not vote on a proposed amendment that would have ended all support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Instead, the House did vote for an amendment that approved of broad authority for President Trump to share U.S. intelligence with the Saudi government, despite credible allegations that the Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces have committed war crimes in Yemen. The resolution also leaves in place language that the executive branch may argue supports its broad claims to use lethal force in Yemen against Al-Qaeda and associated forces, which has never been authorized by Congress.

Christopher Anders, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office, said:

“The Senate will now have to clean up the legislative mess passed by the House. In a resolution that could have been used to shut down all American support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, the House instead caused more problems than it solved.

“The House declined to clean up confusing language that will likely result in the Trump administration claiming that it does not have to change anything it is now doing in support of the Saudis in Yemen.

“And in a harmful move, the House passed an amendment that seems to say that President Trump has almost unfettered authority to share intelligence about Yemen with a Saudi Arabian government that has been credibly accused by United Nations experts of committing horrific war crimes in Yemen.”

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