tv U.S. House of Representatives House Debate on Political Situation in Yemen CSPAN November 14, 2017 1:17am-2:22am EST
eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. announcer: monday, the house approved a nonbinding resolution to express the sense of the house on the urgent need for political solutions in yemen. a debate on the resolution is an hour. oyce: i want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including the gentleman from california, mr. khanna, for working in good faith toward achieving a resolution that addresses a complex issue, a very serious issue. namely, that is the strategic and humanitarian implications of the ongoing conflict being fought in yemen. i should also recognize the good work of our foreign affairs committee ranking member, mr. eliot engel of new york. so this resolution will send a strong and needed message to all involved in this conflict that is causing so much human
suffering. according to the u.n., more than 20 million people in yemen, now that's 76% of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance. more than two million people are affected by either moderate or by severe malnutrition. mr. speaker, house resolution 599 is a bipartisan alternative to house concurrent resolution 81. that initial proposal had claimed procedural privileges by invoking section 5-c of the war powers resolution, which applies only when u.s. forces are engaged in hostilities abroad without authorization. though we provide logistics to our saudi partners in the region, united states forces are not conducting hostilities against houthi forces in yemen. the initial resolution also
neglected a key facet of the yemen crisis. and that is iran. which has been providing increasing support, very any fares support, -- nefarious support, to the houthi rebels. we must not forget that in april of 2015 the u.n. security council, acting under chapter seven of the u.n. charter, condemned the violent houthi government overthrow, quote, in the strongest terms. and obligated all u.n. member states to comply with and enforce and embargo on arms and military assistance, quote, of all types, unquote. to the houthi forces. this makes iran's acts to fuel this deadly conflict a gross violation of international law. as our ambassador has pointed
out. i am glad that the newhouse resolution, 599, addresses these shortcomings and i rise to support it today. even before this latest conflict , yemen was the poorest country in the region. it was racked by violence and unrest. for years the countries of north and south yemen were in conflict , before they became a single state. that was in 1990. after an uprising in 2011, yemen embarked on a path of attempted national dialogue, of unification, of constitutional reform. but hopes for stability, hopes for that progress were daiished in 2014 and at that time -- dashed in 2014 and at that time that was when an iran-backed houthi rebel group in alliance with formerem en-- yemeni strong
former yemeni strongman opposed the government. the government of the president. in response, the united nations security council adopted resolution 2216, which sanctioned individuals involved in destabilizing yemen and demanded that the houthis unconditionally end their use of violence, withdraw their forces, relinquish their seized weapons, and refrain from threats to neighboring states. unfortunately the houthi rejection of this u.n. security council resolution with iran's backing has sabotaged the prospects for peace. mr. speaker, the united states has longstanding critical national security interests in this region. members will recall that the deadly bombing of the u.s.s. cole occurred there in yemen.
other terrorist plots against americans originated in yemen, including the unsuccessful 2009 underwear bomber attack on a northwest airlines flight that was going to detroit. we and our partners continue to conduct operations against al qaeda inside yemen, and that is pursuant to the 2001 authorization of use of military force, with the permission of the internationally recognized government of yemen. although al qaeda in the arabian peninsula may not grab a lot of international headlines, it still continues to threaten western nations, it still maintains a significant network in southern yemen, which we are working to disrupt. making matters worse, yemen has become another front in iran's quest for regional dominance, which has ac central rated in the wake of the -- accelerated in the wake of the previous
administration's deal. considering that iran's revolutionary guard core has in-- corps has transferred specialists to train and advise their units. iran's top terror proxy, hezbollah, is helping the houthis, who have launched numerous missiles and numerous raids into saudi arabia, killing innocent civilians. just last week a ballistic missile was intercepted over the saudi capital of riyadh. this iranian meddling in yemen thwarts peace by empourg the houthis to -- empowering the houthis to resist going to political negotiations. the iranian regime could not care less about the human suffering it's responsible for. of course, beyond our national security, the region is also vital to the u.s. and to the global economy.
it is part of the strait, a narrow strategic choke point in the flow of international goods headed to and from europe and asia and the united states. at times, iranian supported houthis had attacked international shipping, including attacking an american vessel. disruptions to shipping along this waterway means disruption to employment and wages. so it is no wonder that in a ponse to these threats saudi led coalition again operations against houthi forces. the mission was to reinstate the internationally recognized government. 2 1/2 years later, however, military progress remains elusive and battle lines are hardened. the saudi led coalition controls the port city of aiden
and the lowland areas in the south. while the houthis continue to hold the capital and the highlands there of northern yemen. civilian casualties have been distressingly high, including from saudi air strikes in the early months of the campaign. today, yumen is in shambles. it is including the world's largest food security crisis and largest cholera outbreak. more than 900,000 suspected cases. and last week's moves for the saudis to close ground, air and sea ports only threatens to make things worse. the united states remains committed to providing much needed relief to innocent men, women and children affected by this crisis. in fact, we main the single largest donor of humanitarian aid to yemen by far. usaid and u.n. aid agencies
report that all parties to the conflict, including the saudi led coalition, have been responsible for bureaucratic impediments and disruptions to humanitarian operations, complicating our ability to effectively deliver lifesaving assistance. our resolution says this must stop by all sides. mr. speaker, this all provides for a very complex policy challenge. some say the united states should distance itself from long standing military cooperation with saudi arabia, the a.u.e. and other gulf partners. but this would strengthen iran's malign in the region and would not solve the humanitarian crisis. indeed, it would likely worsen it. at the same time others say our dealing should be
with iran's nuclear tests. end, i uld -- to this believe that house resolution 599 appropriately balances the shared bipartisan concerns of this body. the urgent need for a political solution in yemen consistent with security council resolution 2216, a call for all parties to prevent civilian casualties, support for the saudi-led coalition's commitments to improve targeting and abide by their no-strike list. and condemnation and sanctions for iran's destabilizing activities in yemen in violation of that security council resolution 2216. here we should note that this body has taken strong bipartisan action in recent months to challenge iran's
aggression, including by sanctioning its icbm program and its support for the terrorist group hezbollah. and make no mistake about it, iran is an avowed enemy and our biggest security threat in the region and on the other hand, the saudis are our partners. the resolution calls for all parties to allow unobstructed access for humanitarian organizations, human rights investigations, medical personnel and journalists. and in general, it brings attention to a conflict that deserves more international notice. as we demate this measure, i suspect we may hear different views of war powers and authorizations for the use of military force as they relate to yemen. as i said, i don't believe our security cooperation with the saudis triggers war powers. this is the type of support we provide to many other
governments, but just because it does not arise under that particular statute does not make it immune from our scrutiny. i share members' concerns that congress must be as attentive as possible to the roles and missions of our armed forces overseas and monitor the ways in which our security assistance is being used. in this sense, yemen does warrant closer watching, and that is what i believe this resolution does. so i again want to thank the gentleman from california, mr. khanna, the majority leader and minority whip of the house, and my good friend and ranking member eliot engel for the good work that went into this text which i support. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california, mr. royce, reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. khanna. mr. khanna: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. khanna: mr. chairman, i want to thank chairman royce for his work on this resolution , ranking member engel, leadership on both sides, majority leader mccarthy and the speaker and minority whip hoyer and leader pelosi. i think one thing we can all agree on, as chairman royce mentioned, is the humanitarian crisis in yemen. it is arguably the largest humanitarian crisis currently in the world. there are almost a million people suffering from cholera, and this is a manmade crisis, because the bombing of civilian targets, bombing of electricity areas, bombing that has made the treatment of water impossible.
almost seven million people face famine. one hope out of this debate, the first debate in the house floor on yemen is that we will collectively demand humanitarian access to people in yemen. there is no justification for the ports to be closed. there is no justification for airport to be closed. just in "the new york times" there was an article no color even tablets are not being allowed in for people suffering from cholera. that is an american issue. we stand for human rights. we stand for compassion and cency and we should demand
collectively that there is humanitarian access to people who are suffering, that the ports be opened, that the airports be opened and this resolution calls for that. as has our u.n. ambassador haley made that clear. the second part of this resolution that i think goes a long way is the acknowledgment of our own role in the refueling of saudi planes and in the assistance of saudi targeting. the resolution explicitly acknowledges that the united states has been engaged in the assistance of saudi refueling and the assisting the saudis in targeting. and it explicitly also cognizes that the 2001 authorization of force that the
united states congress passed oes not apply to the yemenis civil war. chairman royce was absolutely correct, there is an al qaeda threat in yemen to the united states, and our military, under the 2001 authorization of force, has the full authority to take counterterrorism measures to deal with al qaeda. but what our military is not thorized to do is assist the saudi arabian regime inciting the houthis. in many cases, they have aligned with al qaeda to fight the houthis, undermining our very counterterrorism operations. d so this resolution makes abundantly clear that we cannot be assisting the saudi regime
in any of its fight with the houthi regime and we have to limit our involvement in yemen to take on al qaeda and to take on the terrorists that threaten the united states. the chairman and i have a disagreement about the war powers resolution, but i will say that the negotiations were in good faith, and as i told some of the groups that were upset about the resolution, this is a body of 435 members. and every member has their perspective but ultimately we have to come to a consensus that moves the debate forward. in our view, the war powers resolution does apply. if i can quote from a plain reading of section 8-c, it says that for the purposes of the war powers act, the introduction of united states
armed forces includes -- the assignment of member 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. i believe a plain reading of that statute suggests that refueling saudi planes constitutes the coordination with a foreign government in a foreign conflict. frankly, it's precisely what the drafters of the statute wanted to prevent after vietnam. they wanted us to -- they wanted to prevent us from getting entangled in foreign conflicts where our national security was not at stake without a debate on the floor of congress. we currently have troops in harm's way in 13 countries
around the world. and in many of those countries we have not debated in the united states congress what the mission is or whether we should be there or whether it's making us any safer. and that's certainly the case in yemen. we know that to the extent that iran is involved with the houthis that has been exacerbated because of the saudi actions. the debatable how much iran was involved in the first place, but what we do know is that their minimal involvement or perhaps now greater involvement was triggered because of the saudi escalation in bombing yemen. now, what is the united states' stake in a proxy war in yemen? how is that making us any safer? if anything, it's creating
another generation of yemenis that will view the united states with suspicion. one wrote in "the new york times," quote, we americans have sometimes wonder how russia can be so mall vailian as supporting the syrian government allies as they bomb and starve, yet we're doing the same thing with saudi arabia and it's just as unconscionable when we are the once complicit. we are -- our military has the highest standards. we take such great care in minimizing civilian casualties. why would we want to aid saudi arabia, which doesn't share american values, which doesn't have the regard for human life that we in the united states do? we are bearing the brunt of elections and so it's time, i believe, not just to stand up for humanitarian
access in yemen but to question whether the aid that we're providing saudi arabia is making our country any safer, whether it's consistent with american values. and finally, i will say to those who argue that we need to support the saudis as a counter to iran, there is no question that iran has taken actions that are not in the united states' interests, but i suggest that we learn from our own history. i remember from history the time where so many in our country said, let us arm saddam hussein to be a counter to iran, and that didn't work out so well for the united states. it was our arms that fueled saddam hussein's rise that led to two costly wars for the united states. .
the balance of power framework that has dictated our foreign policy has not made us any safer. i wish we would exercise more restraint in our foreign policy and return to the traditions of john quincy adams and said we ouldn't go over seas to droy -- overseas. we need to offer our hopes and prayers for those fighting for freedom but not engage in interventionism abroad. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield five minutes ros-lehtinen. ve the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: i thank my
good friend, the chairman of our committee for yielding me the time. i rise today in support of house resolution 599 expressing the sense of the u.s. house of representatives with respect to united states' policy toward yemen. i thank my other colleague from california and mr. mcgovern for offering this important resolution before us. i thank chairman royce and ranking member engel for working in a bipartisan manner in our committee, including with our leadership, to bring this resolution before us today. mr. speaker, there are approximately two million internally displaced persons in yemen right now and international aide agencies consider yemen to be one of the four current famine countries including south sudan, somalia and nigeria. safe passage must be given to reach the people to yemen who need this assistance.
saudi arabia have security and terror concerns in yemen and have to mitigate those and shouldn't be any obstacles to prevent the delivery of humanitarian assistance to yemen. this morning, saudi arabia announced that it will reopen airports and seaports in yemen. hopefully that aid will come quickly for those starving people. since the campaign began, the united states has been the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to yemen, the largest. we must be sure that the aid is actually reaching the right people who need it the most. a political solution is needed in yemen where parties can negotiate a path forward but that becomes more difficult when we have to deal with the negative influence of iran and the houthis. here are some examples.
in february, 2017, the commander of the islamic revolutionary guard corps reportedly pledged to increase iran's assistance to houthi forces. two incidents occurred in october 2016 off the coast of yemen where are missiles were fired targeting our forces. centraldmiral who heads command said iran is connected to this, end quote. since april 20, 15, u.s. war ships intercepted five shipments of weapons to houthi forces. and the u.s. forces central commander said a missile fired at rihad was manufactured by iran.
in yemen we cannot forget we have to undermine their influence. the white house released a new strategy and it stated, quote, the iranian regime has taken advantage of conflicts to aggressively expand its regional influence and threaten its neighbors with little domestic or international costs for its actions, end quote. i believe targeted sanctions are needed against iran for providing weapons, weapons that are being used to directly target u.s. soldiers in the region. and lastly, mr. speaker, we cannot forget about the threats eminating from the u.s.-designated foreign terrorists organizations, al the arabian peninsula. united states must conduct operations in yemen to counter the threats, but we cannot do it
alone. a few months ago, we teamed up with local forces to target the militants. this is another positive sign in the region where we can partner with our gulf partners to fight jointly. these are essential toll protect our national security interests and bring regional stability in the region. while a lot of the foge cuss that is put on hezbollah and hamas in the region, we cannot forget about the militant activities that iran is undertaking through its proxy in yemen, the howies. thank you, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. khanna. mr. khanna: i yield five minutes to the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern, who has been a real advocate and
champion for the war powers act in this institution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized for five minutes. mr. mcgovern: i thank the gentleman from california for yielding me the time and his leadership to bring before this house the critical issue of policy in yemen. i thank him for his determination to provide this house with at least 30 minutes to debate the come policity of the united states through its support of the saudi-led forces in the greatest humanitarian crisis taking place on this planet. i believe the house should be considering mr. khanna's original resolution. the republican leaders made it impossible by threatening do put forward a right for congressman khanna to ever call his prifled resolution up for debate. according to the united nations, yemen is suffering the fastest growing cholera epidemic and faces the biggest food
emergency. saudi arabia has blocked its ports and airports. it sealed the country's borders. the people of yemen have been cut off for all humanitarian aid during this epidemic and the ability of humanitarian agencies to provide relief has been significantly impeded. the united nations has called the closure of borders catastrophic. even the international community of the red cross was forbidden to cross the northern border ith a delivery of chlorine tablets. two smaller southern ports and one red seaport will be open soon. but the main port where 80% of yemen's food supplies will be closed. mr. speaker, it is well documented that the sawed ay-led coalition and saudi forces have rried out a ruthless bombing
campaign that targets hospitals, schools, food markets and civilian population including children. the world food program has warned hundreds of thousands of children will be on the brink of starvation if the blockade lasts for two weeks. that deadline will arrive next tuesday two days before we enjoy our thanksgiving with our family, friends and loved ones. will the members of the house spare a thought to the mothers, fathers and children as we sit down and eat. or will this congress after more than 2 1/2 years send a clear message to saudi arabia that its actions are intolerable. mr. speaker, saudi arabia's actions and the coalition it leads in the yemen civil war may rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humidity. it is passed time for this house
to clearly declare that the united states will no longer provide or sell military aid, equipment and munenishons to war criminals and not supply mid-air fueling to head to yemen. that the u.s. will no longer share intelligence with the saudi coalition and we will no longer remain a complicit and passive partner in carrying out one of the world's debatest humanitarian crisis. i know the houthi rebels are guilty of war crimes. tom lantoost human rights commission held a hearing on the humanitarian crisis in yemen so i know full well the athe tropical storm yits committed by all parties. yemen is one proxy in the religious and political struggle where sunnis and show eat iran.
that trumps every other single consideration. we need to action with extreme caution and how we allow to support potential war criminals in pursuit of consolidating their own regional power. this power struggle is escalating further. rather than the u.s. policy working to cool things down, we are encouraging it to heat up. i do not want the united states to be complicit in supporting the killing and maiming of children. i don't want the united states to be deliberate in deliberating attacks of schools, hospitals, markets and homes. i don't want us to be complicit of bombing water plants and supporting the blockade that condemns tens of thousands of children. once again, i thank congressman khanna who have supported this effort to have this debate and
thank them for this leadership. but this is serious. and thank you, mr. khanna, for leading you in this debate. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts yields. the gentleman from california reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: reclaiming my time. so the purpose of this resolution is to pressure the saudis to take those steps to reopen access to those ports. that is what we are doing. we need to be talking about the other aspect of what we are also trying to do here. and that is to try to get the houthis to respond to the actions taken by the united nations to get the houthis to lift their empedments that they have put in place. they need to respect the neutrality of aid and stop diverting convoys away from
those who are in need as we know is a problem.that need to accept the united nations' plan to administer the port so deliveries of essential food and medicines can resume. part of our difficulty here is the houthis are or have become supporters, nian they are a minority in yemen, but iran uses them to exploit divisions within the society. the houthis slogan is derived from iran's own anti--u.s. slogan. the slogan, if you listen to them is death to america. death to israel, damn the jews. they didn't pick that up on their own.
part of the problem is the leaders of the houthi militia were indoctrinated in iran as part of an iranian attempt to construct a hezbollah-like proxy in yemen. they have done it. we are trying to figure out a way to convince them to reopen the port under the u.n. auspices here and convince the saudis and other memberships of this coalition that they should cooperate on this access as well. this is the attempt of this resolution. and i yield four minutes to the gentleman from texas, mike mccaul, chairman of the committee on homeland security. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for four minutes. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker and mr. chairman. i rise in support of this resolution expressing the urgent need for a political solution in yemen. as the civil war continues well into its third year, the situation on the ground becomes
more dire by the day despite multiple attempts to broker a political agreement to end the human suffering, peace remains elusive. al qaeda on the arabian peninsula has taken advantage of this power vacuum created by the conflict and has allowed them to expand into the southern and eastern ports of yemen where they continue to plot external operations against the united states. at the same time, much like in lebanon, syria and iraq, iran continues its campaign in yemen where its actions prolong the conflict and exacerbated the nightmare. as highlighted by secretary mattis, everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region, you find iran. this is not by coincidence. as prime minister netanyahu said
on a recent trip, iran is working around the clock to some lid file its presence through the accomplishment of a land bridge from iraq to lebanon referred to as the shia crescent. . iran on multiple occasions has been caught attempting to smuggle weapons, ammunitions into the region. they have also provided technical assistance to the houthis, enabling them to manufacture ballistic missiles, and saudi arabia is often their main target. in order to protect their security interests of the saudi people, the government inry had has taken -- in riyadh has taken defense actions such as blockades as well as offensive measures to stem attacks on the kingdom. such as an unsuccessful ballistic missile attack on the capital just earlier this month.
however, while saudi arabia has the right to prioritize its security, we cannot dismiss the effects of its actions on the grave humanitarian suffering on the ground where more than 27 million face an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. as such, this resolution rightly highlights the need for a political solution to this conflict and condemns iranian activities that undermine peace efforts. furthermore, it calls on all parties of the conflict to take additional measures to prevent civilian casualties and increase much-needed humanitarian access. lastly, this resolution encourages the international community to join in providing the resources necessary to address this crisis. i commend all those involved. it's a rell threat that i see as -- it's a real threat that i see as chairman of the homeland security every day, and i want to thank the chairman for
bringing this and the gentleman across the other side of the aisle for bringing this important resolution to the floor. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas yields back. the gentleman from california, mr. royce, reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. khanna, for -- mr. khanna: i yield four minutes to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. nolan, who has been a force on these issues. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. nolan: the truth is america has no business involving itself in this saudi-led civil war in yemen. that's why i introduced my amendment that passed the house just last july declaring none of the funds in the national defense authorization act will be used to deploy ground troops in yemen. but the fact is the united states is still financially supporting this saudi-led war and that's simply wrong for
three primary reasons. first off, america's support for this saudi-led war in yemen is unauthorized. congress never approved a declaration of war in yemen. nothing could be more clearer in the constitution of the united states as to who has the responsibility for declaring wars. it's not the president. it's the congress of the united states of america. right now we are still financially supporting a saudi air war and blockade in yemen, both acts of war. it's time to put a stop to that. second, we're supporting this saudi-led blockade that's causing a horrific starvation, disease and death in yemen. this blockade has forced more than seven million people in yemen to the brink of starvation. it has sparked the world's largest cholera crises in recorded history, and more than 8,000 people in yemen have been
killed and nearly 50,000 injured in air strikes and fighting on the ground. it is unconscionable for us to continue support for this war. finally, i can't say enough. america is already involved in too many endless wars of choice in the middle east. the president of the united states acknowledged that we have spent $6 trillion just on the wars in iraq and afghanistan. $6 trillion. and they have acknowledged we have $2 trillion in expenses going forward, taking care of the heroes that served our nation, lost arms and legs and irreparable damage. that's $1 trillion. think about it. for one of those $trillion, just one of them, we could have eliminated student debt in america. think about for another one of those trillion, there is a trillion for our infrastructure. think about it, for another trillion, we could have found a cure for cancer or diabetes or alzheimer's or any one of a number of things.
these wars -- endless wars of choice where we have inadvertently been on virtually every side of the conflicts one way or another, one time or another, are so costly in blood and treasury it's time to put a stop to spending these trillions on these wars and start reen vesting in america, -- reinvesting in america, reinvesting in the american people. congress must stand up and ing an end to the american involvement of these wars, especially in yemen where we have no authorization and no business being involved. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota yields. the gentleman from california, mr. khanna, reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. royce. mr. royce: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith, he's chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on africa, global health, global human rights and international organizations. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker.
house resolution 599 urges a political solution to yemen, calls on all parties to the conflict to increase efforts to adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent civilian casualties and increase humanitarian assistance. events of the past week demonstrate the urgency of resolving this perilous conflict. on saturday, november 4, iranian-backed houthi rebels in yemen fired an iranian-made ballistic missile at saudi arabia's capital. by monday, riyadh, in the midst of a pal ace shakeup, described the attack as a war. and ordered all ports close. they said it was necessary to prevent iran to continue to arm the houthis but the move also spelled dire consequences for yemen civilian population suffering under the third year of punishing wartime conditions. in a country where nearly 70%
of the population needs some form of humanitarian and protection assistance, port closures have the distinct look of collective punishment. although saudi arabia this morning announced it would begin lifting the restrictions, this dramatic si against of events underscores the potential this war has on any given hour or day to explode in a regional confrontation and even greater humanitarian catastrophe. from the regional perspective, yemen remains a critical foot hold for iranian influence on the southern flank of the middle east. the conflict there allows the iranian regime to sew enstability that is to its own benefit and that other avowed enemies of the united states and our allies. gaps in governance around the region have served as an entryway for iranian influence. most notably in syria and iraq, ere iran and syria will have
hezbollah extend its influence. tehran is doing the same in men where has houthi militias, the yemens -- isis affiliate. from the humanitarian perspective, mr. speaker, the ongoing cost of the war are absolutely at offic. the ircr, international red cross, warns that the cholera outbreak is exploding. it's 750,000. could reach a million by the end of this year. in july the w.h.o. called the cholera outbreak the worst in the world. in march of this year i chaired a congressional hearing on the growing threat of cholera and other diseases in the middle east. at the time we focused on the -- especially on the outbreak in iraq and syria brought by the collapse of the health care sectors and the sanitation infrastructure. today that epidemic now is in
yemen and it has overtaken even iraq and syria. i yield back and i appreciate the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california, mr. royce, reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. khanna. mr. khanna: can i yield five minutes to the gentleman from maryland, mr. raskin, who is a constitutional law professor? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for five minutes. mr. raskin: mr. speaker, thank you very much. what's unfolding in yemen today is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. the war in yemen has already claimed more than 10,000 civilian lives, according to the u.n. with this gruesome death toll as a backdrop, the u.n. is now warning that yemen is facing the largest famine that the world has seen in many decades. according to matthew nims, the acting director of usaid's food for peace program who testified before congress, famine is on the agenda now because the saudi-led military campaign in yemen is, quote, using hunger
as a weapon of war, but using hunger as a weapon of war as a way to assault and destroy the civilian population is completely in disregard of the laws of war. but that weapon is proving to be brutally effective. more than seven million yemenis are food insecure tonight, which is a polite way of saying they are on the brink of starving to death. as we speak more than two out of three yemenis have no idea where their next meal will come from. meanwhile, the saudi-imposed blockade and the deliberate targeting in yemen of water and sewage systems along with hospitals and schools, have ingendered in that country the largest civilian cholera crisis in recorded human history. more than 900,000 people are suffering from a massive outbreak of cholera, a bacterial disease that causes severe and painful diarrhea and dehydration and which has already killed more than 2,000 women, men and children.
the u.s. must act to save the people of yemen. we are implicated because we have been refueling saudi and u.a.e. bombers and offering weapons, intelligence and logistical support to the saudi campaign despite the fact that congress has never declared war or authorized military operations there. we must do everything in our power to end the blockade on humanitarian assistance and to reopen the pipeline of critical supplies, food, water and medicine to the yemeni population. congress has never authorized u.s. involvement in the saudi-led war. i could understand that happening in saudi arabia itself where there is no constitution and where the oil monarchy governs according to shahrya law and promotes extremism all around the world but this is america and we have been enabling a brutal war which has driven millions of people to the point of starvation without any declaration of war or explicit legal authorization. the u.n. humanitarian
coordinator now says this is the greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945, and hundreds of thousands or millions of people may die if the blockade is not lifted. while we celebrate thanksgiving, mass starvation may have overtaken yemen. yet, the blockade is still very much enforced. we must do everything in our power to speed humanitarian assistance to the civilian population, to work towards a diplomatic solution in yemen, to stop the atrocities on all sides and to bring real peace to the region. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland yields back. the gentleman from california, mr. khanna, reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. royce. mr. royce: i yield one minute to the gentleman from florida, francis rooney, vice chairman of the committee on foreign affairs. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. rooney: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to support h.res. 599, seeking a political solution in yemen and putting pressure on iran to stop their nefarious activities there and i would
like to thank chairman royce and mr. khanna for bringing this to the floor today. like hezbollah and syria, these houthi rebels are just iranian proxy. ambitions in the region continue to destabilize the middle east and impede our efforts to replace the -- to reinforce the historic sunni balance of power. a few thousand houthis, a distinct minority, are trying 20 million ait -- yemenis. some of the things involve anti-ship weapons and mines which could threaten our own u.s. navy. and the houthi rebels have directly attacked saudi arabia's property. further, escalating the tensions and bringing us to the brink of a broader conflict in the area. thank you, mr. chairman, for bringing this important resolution to the floor. and i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida yields. the gentleman from california, mr. royce, reserves. the gentleman from california, mr. khanna. mr. khanna: mr. speaker, i
yield four minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. engel, the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee, and i really want to thank you, mr. engel, for your leadership on this resolution. new york is recognized for four minutes. mr. engel: i thank the gentleman for yielding, and i thank you, mr. speaker, and i want to commend mr. khanna for his leadership because i think it's important with that our new members come here and really make a difference for these important events all around the world so i thank you. i rise in support of this measure which shines the light on the carnage and suffering which has defined the conflict in yemen. . i thank mr. khanna who has shown leadership. he understands the critical role that congress has to play in foreign policy and important that this body talk about the civil war in yemen and america's involvement. the united states wields
tremendous power, and we have an obligation to debate how those tools are used. we have heard about involvement in the civil war in yemen. the people of yemen are caught in the crossfire. the devastation of yemen's infrastructure has led to 900,000 cholera cases. one child dice from mall nutrition, diarrhea or respiratory tract infections. in response, the saudi-led coalition closed ports. no humanitarian assistance has been allowed to enter yemen. fuel shortages are limiting access at a time when more than 75% of the people of yemen requires some level of assistance including 6.8 mill i don't know relinet on food aid.
let's be clear. neither military action nor food aid will solve the conflict. a political solution is essential that will require some compromise and exit strategy for yemeni's gulf partners and prevent iranian weapons getting into yemen. what does this mean? the united states provides mid-air refueling for the saudi-led coalition and gives intelligence. the united states is engaged with partners around the world under a range of authorities. some of these are covered by the current authorization by the u.s. force. we should have more clarity bout the way we use military might. after all, it's congress' responsibility to declare war or
limit a president's authority to wage war when necessary. aumf. ld sunset the 2001 we never intended there to be a blank check. face new threats, threats unrelated to the terrorists to attacked new york city. we owe it to our men and women in uniform to have a thorough debate before we stand into harm's way. we have to say yes or no. .his helps move that debate i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields. the gentleman from california, mr. khanna reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. royce. mr. royce: i yield one minute to mr. chabot. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized.
mr. chabot: as former chairman of the middle east committee of foreign affairs and having traveled to yemen, i rise in support of h.r. 599, a bill that calls an end to the conflict in yemen and denounces the targeting of innocent civilians and use of civilians as human shields. it has become painfully evident that iran's revolutionary guard transfers increasingly sophisticated weapons systems to the houthis. these weapons are being used to target civilians as well as one of our regional allies saudi arabia. there is an urgent need for a political solution in yemen with growing famine, 500,000 new olera cases and death of civilians. so i rise in support of this bill and i urge my colleagues to condemn iranian activities in yemen and call on our global
partners to take appropriate measures against the government of iran including the banning of iran's weapons to the houthis and condemning targeting of civilians. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california, mr. royce, reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. khanna. mr. khanna: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank again chairman royce for working with us to get to this resolution. i want to acknowledge people on savva, team, staff, geo chris and pete. andi want to recognize mira mark who helped with the language. and the peace groups who brought
this important cause to the congress. i know there is some isappointment in wanting to go further. and people are very sincere in wanting to help civilians who literally face famine and cholera. but i believe democracy is a messy process, a long process. as i mentioned earlier, 435 members from different parts of the country and i think today we have shown good faith in taking a step forward in highlighting the issue and calling for humanitarian assistance and our g sure that we curtail support for saudi bombing and i'm confident with the continued involvement of everyone in this body, we will ultimately uphold our values and human rights with
every person in this chamber. with that, i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california, mr. khanna, yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. royce. mr. royce: part of the complexity here in this tragedy is that iran does want to turn the houthis into a yemeni version of hezbollah, thereby turning it into a second lebanon. we do face a challenge here in the sense that they are firing iranian missiles on a regular basis at cities across saudi arabia and firing on rihad, the capital. now we have not committed american forces to fight against the houthi forces in yemen. our main involvement has been in
the form of humanitarian assistance. and our long standing pre-existing security relationships with regional partners, saudi, u.a.e., gulf coordination council. i don't disagree that we must push them to improve their operations to better avoid civilian casualties and humanitarian harm. but it is a dangerous delusion to think that distancing ourselves from those security relationships would serve the cause of peace and security in yemen in the region. it would do the opposite. house resolution 599 in my opinion is a very responsible reaction to the ongoing crisis, but it expresses the urgent need for a political solution in yemen to prevent civilian casualties and condemns iran for its continuing destabilizing
activities >> tuesday the senate finance committee continues its review of the senate tax plan. online at c-span.org or on the free c-span radio app. you can find the senate republican tax reform plan at the sentence -- seven finance committee on c-span chronicle. thursday likely vote for a bill that will follow up is giving. >> the c-span buses traveling across the country on a 50 capital store. we recently stop the topeka kansas. >> one of the most important issues to me is our economic policies. we have seen a great experiment here in kansas.
tax policies have gutted state services and that horrible things to education. teachers are leaving, young people are leaving, economic opportunities are not here. thatis one of those things the former economic adviser is no trumps economic advisor and it's something i don't want to see on the national level. it's her kansas and i don't want to see it hurt the rest of the country. >> the most important issue is education. we have seen cuts to education. every single budget proposed. the house is done well with the supreme court ruling of trying to get those tax rates back but i think it takes ordinary people like me speaking out. >> one of the biggest issues to me is maybe a little bit more community things.
accepting a lot of things. getting rid of serotypes. whether it is gang-related or lgbt communities are anything like that, i think that is very important and we need to come together because i have seen what it can do. i think it is to happen a lot more, not just here in kansas but all of the world. i wish lawmakers would realize it's time for change in terms of term limits as well as average salaries. they make an average of $170,000 year. americans should have medical benefits like the congress. but the states decide what they want to do about the representatives. i think the most important
issue, along with the budget crisis, is medicaid expansion. a lot of states are also dealing with this issue. the decision to make the supreme medicaid optional has her kansas. money is being left on the table with medicaid expansion not happening in kansas. people have been waiting for over four years to be eligible to services. know of people may not this but kansas is one of the most restrictive states for eligibility. adults, no matter how much money they make, are not eligible. health care are further brought down into situations where they may not be economically mobile or be able to provide for their families. i think in general, health care is a right, not a privilege that some may not be able to get versus others. that is the issue that is most important to be right now. >> voices from the states, on