Congress

House Votes To End Unauthorized U.S. Involvement in Yemen (Again). Justin Amash Votes Present (Again).

The bill now goes to President Trump's desk.

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

A measure passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday would largely end U.S. military involvement in the Yemeni civil war.

The final vote was 247-175, with 16 Republicans joining 231 Democrats in approving the resolution. Just one congressman voted present: the libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.), who has previously said he didn't support the bill because it includes an exception that he believes expands the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

The Senate passed the measure last month. It now heads to the desk of President Donald Trump, who has previously signaled he will veto it. While it's unlikely that either house of Congress can muster the two-thirds majority needed to override such a veto, the measure's passage is significant on its own. It's the first time ever a war powers resolution has reached a president's desk, according to Politico.

The measure cites the War Powers Act of 1973, which seeks to ensure that the president only commits U.S. military forces to conflicts abroad if he has congressional approval. While U.S. forces are not directly involved in the fighting, they have assisted the Saudi coalition by sharing intelligence and proving logistical support. U.S. forces also supported the Saudis with aerial refueling, but ceased doing so last year.

"The president will have to face the reality that Congress is no longer going to ignore its constitutional obligations when it comes to foreign policy, when it comes to determining when and where our military is engaged in hostilities," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D–N.Y.), according to The New York Times.

But Foreign Affairs Committee ranking Republican Rep. Michael McCaul (R–Texas) argued the measure misinterprets the War Power Act's true meaning of the word "hostilities."

"The fundamental premise of this resolution is flawed because U.S. forces are not engaged in hostilities against the Houthis in Yemen," McCaul said, according to the Washington Post. "If we want to cut off economic assistance or logistic assistance to Saudi, there's a way to do that…I think we're using the wrong vehicle here."

The War Powers Act encompasses "the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities." According to the measure passed Thursday, the "activities that the United States is conducting in support of the Saudi-led coalition, including aerial refueling and targeting assistance, fall within this definition."

The Yemen resolution first passed in the Senate in December. The House passed the measure in February, but Republicans added an anti-Semitism amendment that forced the Senate to do it all over again. This time around, House Republicans tried to amend the bill with a measure to condemn the global BDS movement to boycott the nation of Israel. However, most Democrats opposed the amendment.

Among the Republicans to vote yes on the Yemen resolution were Reps. Mark Meadows (R–N.C), Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), Thomas Massie (R–Ky.). While Amash has been a notable opponent of U.S. involvement in Yemen, he voted present, just as he did in February.

Back then, Amash pointed out on Twitter that the legislation expands the AUMF, which gives the president power to take military action against any nation or person he believes to have been involved in the 9/11 terror attacks. "The legislation makes an exception for 'Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al-Qaeda or associated forces,'" Amash wrote at the time. "The notion of undefined 'associated forces' is not part of the 2001 AUMF and significantly expands it."

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30 responses to “House Votes To End Unauthorized U.S. Involvement in Yemen (Again). Justin Amash Votes Present (Again).

  1. Well maybe Congress never should have authorized it in the first place!

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  2. “While Amash has been a notable opponent of U.S. involvement in Yemen, he voted present, just as he did in February.”

    WTF?

    1. Massie has always been better than him on foreign policy, but his excuse for voting “present” on this makes absolutely no sense

    2. Did you read the article?

    3. From Amash’s Twitter:

      The legislation makes an exception for “Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al-Qaeda or associated forces.” The notion of undefined “associated forces” is not part of the 2001 AUMF and significantly expands it. The AUMF authorizes force against the 9/11 perpetrators.

      He had a valid reason. You may disagree as to his reasoning, but he did not go against his principles.

      1. Then shouldn’t he have voted against this?

      2. Bullshit it’s a valid reason.
        The bill doesn’t grant The President – whomever it was, is, or may be – any more power than it currently has.
        Amash is, as usual, just a poseur

      3. That is not a valid reason. There is separate legislation to end AUMF (being pushed by Tulsi, Ro Khanna, Massie, and Amash). You don’t pass up a small win in order to pursue some grander win. His argument is bonkers

        1. I like Amash and he’s still better than the vast majority of Congress, but he’s quickly slipping from the third best member of Congress to sixth.

          1. Amash introduced his own bill to remove all troops from Yemen. So he clearly supports the withdrawal of all troops from Yemen.

            So quit your virtue signaling. We get it. You like Massie better because he is more conservative.

            1. No. I think Gabbard is better than both of them (though Rand is the best member of Congress). You’re accusing me of virtue signaling when that is exactly what you’re doing. I don’t know why people feel the need to defend Amash regardless of when he behaves badly. His bill did not have broad cross party support, like this one.

              Amash bought into fever dreams and has been pretty bad on the Yemen bills. I blame his new funders who have never much cared about foreign policy and have been playing footsie with neocons since Trump’s election.

  3. The problem is that they voted to fund the war in the NDAA. These resolutions are just useless show. If the House wants to end us involvement in Yemen, it has a way to do that; stop funding it. A single line in the NDAA saying “no funds shall be expended for contingency operations in Yemen” and that would be it.

    Congress was given the power of the purse. If it refuses to use that, then it is okay to assume they support whatever action they just funded. Any resolutions after that are just useless political theater.

    1. Yep. These kind of shenanigans can be used to show that Congress critters are on whatever side they want to be on any given day.

      “I voted to stop killing Yemenis!”
      “I voted to support our fight against Al Qaeda”!

  4. While I think our involvement in Yemen at all is just stupid, based on my reading of the War Powers Act, I don’t think what we are doing in Yemen falls under its purview. Though I understand why some might disagree.
    The intent is clearly so Americans killed fighting in a foreign war without Congress oversight. But, aerial refueling and the kind of targeting information involved really meet that. Yes, aerial refueling is dangerous, but no more so there, than anywhere else.

    1. Are they still droning people in Yemen?

      1. Actually, I will give you that is a fair question.

    2. From the War Powers Resolution:

      Sec. 4 (a) In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced?
      (1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;
      (2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces;

      There is more, but these are the relevant sections. It is kind of murky. As far as Yemen goes (and to the extent discussed above) I don’t believe we introduced our forces into hostilities or such imminent situation. And we were resupply Saudi aircraft, so I am not sure how that would fit into #2.

      Again, not arguing in any way that we have any business in Yemen. But, from a legal sense, I am not sure that it is a violation of this act.

      And to the issue of droning people, while I am pretty sure it wrong, I am not sure it is because of the War Powers Resolution specifically.

    3. The intent is clearly so Americans killed fighting in a foreign war without Congress oversight.

      Bullshit. the War Powers Act was driven by the leaks that Nixon was secretly bombing Cambodia for years – and Operation Freedom Deal was still going on in late 1973. There is not much difference between what we were doing then and what we are doing in Yemen now. It was not about American casualties – zero during those Cambodian ops and zero in Yemen now. It was about a Prez conducting war without congressional oversight.

  5. “The president will have to face the reality that Congress is no longer going to ignore its constitutional obligations when it comes to foreign policy, when it comes to determining when and where our military is engaged in hostilities,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D?N.Y.)

    sure

    1. Best laugh I’ve had all day.

    2. Rep. Engel left out the “until we have a Democrat in the White House” loophole.

  6. The United States needs to get involved in the Yemen civil war like it needs a healthy does of the clap.

  7. We should help the Saudis crush the Iranian backed rebels. Khashoggi was a pal of bin Laden’s and an enemy of the U.S., more so than the regular Saudis. Rest in pieces, Khashoggi.

    It was a good Purim. first, my Pres. recognized the Golan that was and should be annexed by Israel. Second, an alt right antisemite killed a bunch of Muslim antisemites in New Zeakabd. The Jew hater and the banchof Jew haters he killed could best be described as a delightful lover’s quarrel.

    Life is good. I think I’kk have a Manischewitz.

    There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here.

    1. You are terrible at this fakery.

      Not fooling anyone.

      Jews do not drink that swill. A Yarden or even better Cabernets from Golan or Galil are better.

      The Golan, Syria is a smoking ruin and not because of Israel. Israel actually gave help as much as they could taking in casualties and giving humanitarian help. It will take many decades to give the people there anything like a normal life.

      Those people who live in Golan are safe and growing world class wine, food, many productive enterprises. Even a ski resort.

      Yemen, thank goodness for the Jews almost all in Israel and protected from the slaughter. The rest of the people there have destroyed a once productive ancient community.

      Oh and Bereshit moon lander, a small project financed by private money, just a starter, you know the translation right? Today it entered lunar orbit. Don’t know if it will land as designed. Genesis in English. Perhaps little Israel will be a part in advancing humanity as we reach out to our future together.

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