tv U.S. House of Representatives Limiting U.S. Military Activities in Yemen CSPAN February 14, 2019 5:04am-6:09am EST
a 248-177 vote. 18 republicans joined democrats in passing the resolution. the resolution now goes to the senate which passed a similar measure in december. here is the debate before the vote. it begins with eliot engel. n im the house, madam chair. for years under administrations of both parties the congress has handed away our authority and abbreaux gated our responsibility when it comes to foreign policy, particularly the questions of how and where our military is engaged around the world. article 1 of the constitution gives congress the responsibility to declare war. yet we have given presidents of both parties a virtual blank check to send our brave service members into harm's way while we have stood on the sidelines. with the measure we're considering today, we take some
of our power back. and we do so to restore a sense of american values and american leadership to the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world. for the last few years, we have all seen horrific images of the civilian casualties in the yemen war. starving children, millions displaced, outbreaks of deadly disease. 85,000 children have starved to death. 14 million are on the brink of famine. more than a million suffer from cholera. and the ongoing military operations are bringing us no closer to a resolution. the only way out of this mess is for parties to sit down and work toward a political solution. the united states can and should play a role pushing for that solution, pushing parties to make a commitment to negotiations. this measure introduced by mr.
khanna will help us do exactly that. let me exmaybe why -- explain why this is so important and why i support passing this resolution right now. in the last few years, the saudi-led coalition has carried out 18,000 air strikes, a full 1/3 of those strikes hit nonmilitary targets. this is absolutely reckless. i'm not naive, madam chair. i know we have critical strategic interests in the region. the houthis are a problem. they get support from iran. they launch missiles into saudi territory and international waterways, threatening saudi civilians. they are starving the yemeni people, diverting assistance, and holding civilians hostage to their political demands. but we can cannot just give the coalition a blank check when so many innocent lives are being lost.
and if an administration won't demand any sort of accountability from the saudis, it's time for congress to act. i want to acknowledge my friend from texas, the ranking member on the foreign affairs committee, mr. mccaul. i believe that also -- he also wants to see congress reclaim our prerogatives on foreign policy, though i understand we have an honest difference of opinion on the approach we're dealing with today. i'm glad that we moved this measure through regular order. that we had a hearing with experts and a markup. and that the gentleman from texas and i could make our cases before the rules committee. it allowed me to hear the arguments from all perspectives on this issue, and i think during this debate we'll hear my friends on the other side call this resolution misguided. i think because this resolution has to do with our security agreements with the saudis, we'll hear them question what impact this may have on other
security agreements. it's a fair question, to be honest. that's why this measure is tailored specifically to deal with just this situation. this is not a broad blanket policy that's going to tie the hands of the executive branch. there is no dangerous precedent being set here. just an attempt to stop a war that's costing far too many innocent lives. i think we'll hear my friends question whether this measure would even do anything because this measure withdraws american forces engaged in hostilities, and the pentagon says hostilities only applies to situations where american troops are firing weapons at an enemy. i have two reactions to that. first of all this measure would specifically define hostilities to include aerial refueling of war planes, carrying out air strikes against houthi militants. i understand the defense department has stopped refueling
as a matter of policy, but policies can be reversed, so this resolution would cut off refueling as a matter of law. my second point is broader and gets at the heart of today's debate. this body is not subject to a definitions conjured up by the defense department. we don't ask permission to exercise our article 1 authority. of course the pentagon will try defined things in a way that consolidates the power of the executive branch, but congress with authority overwar powers, need not accept that definition. the congress has lost its grip on foreign policy, in my opinion, by granting too much deference to the executive branch. by failing to exam the decisions and determinations and definitions that are used to justify sending americans into harm's way. our job is to keep that branch in check. not to shrug our shoulders when
they tell us to mind our own business. lastly, i think we'll hear my colleagues on the other side ask, isn't this just all politics? no, madam chair. politics is what the former majority did to this resolution twice during the last congress. politics is stifling debate on national security issues because we are uncomfortable with the message it might send or we don't want to take a tough vote. politics is walking away from our constitutional responsibilities as congress has done for far too long, and frankly we have done it for far too long. congresses in both parties with a majority and presidents in both parties. article 1 responsibilities are things that we cannot just simply turn the other way. we are a co-equal of branch and we have not had military use of
force since 2001. i hope that that stops this afternoon. the other body has already weighed in on this measure. it passed with bipartisan support. today, the members of the house get our chance to go on record finally and say where we stand. i join this resolution as an original co-sponsor because i think of a reckoning for our government. what's our role in the conflict in yemen? what's congress' voice in our foreign policy? how will we exercise american leadership and american power? what will we provide and what will we withhold to push warring parties toward peace? i want to thank mr. khanna for his hard work and for his leadership in shining a light on this issue. i want to thank our members of the house foreign affairs committee who have contributed so far to a valuable debate. i want to thank mr. mccaul who has made his opposition to this
about the policy, not about the politics, or the personalities. we're going to have a lot more debate. sometimes we'll be on the same side and sometimes not. but i hope we can always grapple with these challenges in a substantive way. for now, madam chair, i thank you and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: thank you, madam chair. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mccaul: thank you. and let me just begin by extending my appreciation for the chairman. i know his arguments are well-intentioned, as are mine. i believe we both completely agree and completely support congress' solemn duty under article 1 of the constitution to authorize the commitment of u.s. troops to foreign hostilities and perhaps there will be another example where we can join forces in that. but that is not the issue here.
allow me to quote the actual war powers act from title 50 of the united states code. this procedure applies to, quote, the removal of united states armed forces engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the united states, end of quote. this has always meant historically and today, u.s. troops being directly involved in line of fire combat. as the department of defense has repeatedly confirmed, u.s. armed forces are not engaged in hostilities against the houthi forces in yemen. this resolution is directing us to remove troops that simply, madam chair, are not there. even the aerial refueling of coalition jets, which does not constitute traditional hostilities, ended last november. this resolution, in my judgment, misuses the tool to try to get at the different issue of security assistance to
third countries. it provides no clear decisions on which forms of assistance are cut off. it does not address the humanitarian catastrophe inside yemen, and alarmingly, it completely ignores the destabilization role that iran is playing in yemen and the region. this irresponsible measure is trying to hammer a square peg in a round hole. this resolution really stretches the definition of hostilities to cover non-u.s. military operations by other countries. it reinterprets u.s. support to those countries as, quote, engagement in hostilities, unquote. this overreach has dangerous implications far beyond saudi arabia. this approach will not allow -- this will now allow any single member to use his privilege mechanism to second guess u.s. security cooperation relationships with more than
100 countries throughout the world. under this model, if one member doesn't like something that any of our security partners does overseas, that member can force quick consideration of a resolution, directing the removal of u.s. forces from hostilities in or affecting that situation. it no longer matters that u.s. forces are not actually conducting those hostilities. this could impact our assistance to israel. it could affect our cooperation with our nato allies. it could impact counterterrorism cooperation with african nations. we could recklessly undo security relationships that we have spent decades building. that is not what the war powers resolution has ever meant, and i don't think that's what congress designed it to do and it should not be used in this way now. no one is saying u.s. security
assistance to saudi arabia or anyone else is beyond congressional scrutiny. congress has many tools at its disposal. our committee receives regular armed sales notifications. congress can condition our cut off security assistance through targeted legislation or the annual appropriations process. but this resolution is the wrong tool. it is vague and irresponsible. it will create new doubts for our partners and allies around the world, and for those reasons, madam chair, i strongly oppose this measure and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas re-- the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i now yield three minutes to the author of this joint resolution, the gentleman from california, mr. khanna. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. khanna: thank you, madam speaker. thank you, chairman engel, for your extraordinary leadership to help bring a war in yemen to
an end. i want to thank you and chairman mcgovern, speaker pelosi, and majority leader-hour for finally speaking up for the millions of yem knees who are on -- yemenis who are on the brink of starvation. this is not a complex issue. for the last two years, we have been assisting the saudis in bombing yemenis civilians and the reports say there are 14 million yemenis who face starvation. 14 million. let's put that in context. 800,000 people died in rwanda. 100 in bosnia. -- 100,000 in bosnia. and 14,000 face famine in yemen. it's because there is a systematic bombing preventing
the food and medicine to get in. we want to send the food. we want to send medicine. but the saudis aren't allowing that food and medicine to get in. and what do we know about saudi arabia? we know that they were responsible for the murder of khashoggi. we know recently that m.b.s. admitted he wanted khashoggi dead. we know that they, the saudis, are supplying arms to al qaeda in yemen who are fighting our troops. the saudis are giving arms to the very people who are fighting our troops. this is why senator lindsey graham has said he may support this resolution. the only patriotic thing, if you care about our troops, if you care about american interests, if you care about the outrage that the saudis are inflicting on americans and on the world, the only patriotic thing to do is to vote for this resolution. i'm convinced it will pass with
a bipartisan majority. i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields his time back to the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: madam chair, i yield three minutes to the distinguished gentleman from texas, ranking member of the house armed services committee, mr. thornberry. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. thornberry: thank you, madam chair. i appreciate the gentleman yielding. madam chair, this resolution is misguided, and let me take a few moments to illustrate some of the reasons. number one, as ranking member of foreign affairs, mr. mccaul, has described this is a misuse of the war powers resolution. it conflates two different sections. it has definitional problems. i'm not going to repeat all of the arguments he has used. my point is that if we use this powerful law, it should be clear, direct, and applicable
to misuse it in this ways actually -- applicable. to misuse it in this way actually is different than what the chairman was talking about. it's clear, we do not have troops in the fight against the houthis. we do, however, want other countries to join in trying to constrain iran's aggression in various parts of the world, but with this resolution, we're saying, ok, you're on your own. we are not going to assist you in any way. that message reverberates throughout the middle east. it will have lasting consequences. third, if anything, this resolution makes -- will make our military more cautious when targeting isis and al qaeda. now, there's a section in here that says, well, it doesn't really apply when you're going against terrorists. but yemen is a messy place. you have individuals co-mingled in the same location, sometimes
the same individual can have multiple loyalties. our military will be overly cautious in interpreting this resolution. they will be less likely to target isis and al qaeda. and, mr. chairman, don't forget, it wasn't very long ago, the most serious threats coming to our homeland, to americans emanated from yemen. this adds danger to the world. fourth, i think this resolution makes a humanitarian situation worse. as long as rockets are fired from yemen into riyadh, there will be a military response. now, the u.s. has been assisting the saudis in targeting so that it's narrower, so that they're only targeting military targets and minimizing civilian casualties. and yet, this resolution says, no, you can't offer that sort of help. so what's the result? it's going to, unfortunately, be less specific targeting, and i'm afraid the humanitarian situation will only grow worse. fifth and finally, if this
passes and signs into law, it will not help the people of yemen one iota. there's lots of things we just heard from the author of the resolution why he does not approve of some of the actions going on with saudi arabia. this does not help any of that. it is an attempt to make us feel better, that we've at least done something, and yet the result is we reduce our influence in the middle east. we encourage and enhance the position of iran. nd we lead to a more dangerous world for us. of s quite an afternoon work. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i yield to the chairman of the very valued member of the foreign affairs committee, the gentleman from california, mr. bera. mr. bera: thank you, mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. bera: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of house joint
resolution 37. and i applaud chairman engel as well as my colleague from california, mr. khanna, on their leadership. this joint resolution would direct the removal of u.s. forces from supporting the saudi campaign in yemen. we will still be supporting our fight against isis and al qaeda in the arabian peninsula which congress has explicitly authorized. we're not debating that. we're also not debating, as some might suggest, setting a precedent when it comes to cooperating with our allies. this is about hostilities we're engaged in because we're supporting a coalition in war. we have not authorized our military to act in the yemeni civil war. this is about reclaiming the jurisdiction of congress and making a war. that's our job. that's what we're elected to do. i say that if it's a democrat or rapp in the white house. now, if the administration -- or a republican in the white house. now, if the administration wants to be involved there, they need to come to congress
and make a compelling case, but let's have that discussion. for that reason, i support this resolution and urge my colleagues to join me in helping to move this resolution out of the house. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. chairman, i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from south carolina and the ranking member on the middle eastern subcommittee, mr. wilson. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. wilson: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, republican leader mike mccaul. i urge opposition to h.j. resolution 37, directing the removal of u.s. armed forces from the hostilities in yemen. actually, the u.s. is not directly engaged in any hostilities in yemen. this is not my independent assessment but the determination of the department of defense. the u.s. is currently supporting the saudi-led coalition in yemen by providing targeting assistance, intelligence sharing, and joint planning to defeat the houthi rebels who are armed by iran
with missiles that they have directed at civilian airports in saudi arabia. there is no doubt that the saudi-led coalition in yemen has made terrible targeting mistakes, but what would happen if the u.s. were to pull the plug on our intelligence sharing and targeting cooperation? would this improve the coalition's targeting or possibly make it worse, increasing the chance for collateral challenge and civilian casualties? i am concerned if we walk away now, these terrible tragedies will simply multiply. the united states must be at the table so we can insist on and respect international law. this does not mean that the coalition will always do the right thing, but it does mean we will have leverage and influence to promote the right direction. instead of this resolution, i hope that our colleague's foreign affairs chairman eliot engel, and republican leerpped mike mccaul, work together -- leader, mike mccaul, work together to address these
important concerns in yemen. we can all agree that the humanitarian crisis in yemen must be addressed and that the ongoing conflict must come to an end. let's work together, as we've always done on the foreign affairs committee, to address this issue and end the suffering of the yemeni people. i yield back. . the chair: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: it's now my pleasure to yield one minute to a new member of the house foreign affairs committee, who is already making his mark, the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, chairman engel, for your incredible leadership on this issue. i'm proud to be an original co-sponsor of congressman cana's resolution. the saudi-led war in yemen has led to a staggering crisis. and it's happening on our watch. this campaign would not be happening without the active involvement of the united states
military with the saudis. more than 75%, 75% of yemen's population needs humanitarian assistance. yemen has one of the highest maternal death rates in the region. its health infrastructure has crumbled. and tens of thousands of pregnant women are at risk of serious complication. the list goes on and on. it's long past time to bring u.s. involvement in this calamity to an end. i want to thank congressman cana for his leadership and chairman engel for making this a top priority. we have a responsibility not just as members of congress, but as human beings, not just to talk about these horrors, but to do everything in our power -- mr. engel: i yield an additional 30 seconds. the chair: the gentleman given 30 seconds. mr. levin: thank you. not just as members of congress, but as human beings. not simply to talk about these horrors, but to do everything in
our power to end them. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from florida and ranking member on the asia and pacific subcommittee, mr. yoho. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. yoho: mr. chairman, i appreciate it. this is something that we do need to get resolved but i can cannot support h.j.res. 37. mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this resolution which i could not support as it was pushed through the foreign affairs committee over strong objection from me and my 16 colleagues. the foreign affairs committee has a proud tradition of partieship but was throb out the window with this bill -- thrown out the window with this bill. among my objections is the basic premise of the bill which is flawed. u.s. forces are not engaged in hostilities between saudi-led coalition and the houstonny forces in yemen. this bill -- houthi forces in yemen.
this bill distorts the definition of hostilities to cover nonmilitary operations by third countries and reinterprets u.s. activities in support of those countries as u.s. engagement in those hostilities. i have been well documented throughout my time in congress as opposing the misuse of the war powers act, that's what needs to be addressed. the misapplication of the 2001 and 2002 aumf. while i wholeheartedly believe that the u.s. forces put into combat roles must be approved by congress, i cannot stand by as those firm beliefs in the constitution are twisted around to make a political messaging point. keep in mind, my colleagues from the other side talks about the humanitarian crisis in yemen. yet they fail to mention the houthi rebels, fighters, overthrough the legitimate government of president haddy, this overthrow was sponsored by iran which iran is the largest sponsor of state terrorism. that's where the problem is in
this. we're there in a different capacity. so i urge my colleagues not to vote for this partisan bill because if we break this agreement, we have got over 100 other agreements that we would have to negotiate with our allies. this would be bad for america's foreign policy. i yield back. i thank the gentleman for sponsoring this. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. it's now my pleasure to yield one minute to our majority leader, the gentleman from maryland, mr. hoyer. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. i i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the chair: without objection. mr. hoyer: mr. speaker, i want to thank chairman engel, chairman smith, representative cana, and others for ensuring that the house express -- --khanna, ive cana
and others for ensuring that the house express its views on the military catastrophe in yemen. after the republican leader decided to allow this resolution to come to the floor in december, i promised to bring it to the floor. here we're. and now the house will have an opportunity to express its views to the president and to the country that he ought to end his administration's support for the saudi coalition's military campaign in yemen. has a campaign that is led to tremendous human suffering. with minimal military gains. after four years, it is time for change in polamalucy. let me be clear, the -- in policy. let me be clear, the houthi rebels in yemen are bad actors, engaging in brutal actions against civilians, and they are sponsored by iran.
they prevent humanitarian assistance to star ever everybodying civilians, and exercise a brute form of governance if they were to be in control. we should have no illusion that there are two parties responsible for this humanitarian catastrophe, however. we're supporting one of them. the result of the coalition campaign thus far has been an unmitigated humanitarian disaster as well as a military stalemate. using military force to pressure the houthi rebels into accepting coalition demand has none straably not worked. it is time -- demonstrably not worked. it is time for congress to make clear to the trump administration and our country and the international community that it cannot simply keep our yemen policy on auto pilot while -- autopilot while the situation not only has not improved but
deteriorates. with the united states supporting one party to this conflict, the best way we promote a peaceful and positive solution is by focusing our efforts on the variables that we can affect. it is time that we set a new course forward on yemen and that the house and senate need to demand that the administration uphold basic american values in its exercise of our foreign policy. that means ending our support for the saudi-led coalition in yemen. although not the focus of this resolution, i am mindful that this debate is taking place a day after the president disregarded the law and failed to report to congress who was responsible for the murder of journalist jamal can shoshey -- can showingy. the more the president tries to sweep this heinous incident under the rug, the more incumbent upon congress it is to
act. this resolution is bipartisan. similar resolution passed the united states senate. it was not brought to this floor. i hope it will receive the strong support of both sides of the aisle. i urge my colleagues to support it. i yield back the balance of my ime. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from pennsylvania, member of the house foreign affairs committee, mr. perry. mr. perry: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman from texas for the time. i am opposed to house joint resolution 37. this resolution is poor policy and will not achieve the aims of those who support it. that's really the crux of the issue here. my colleagues are using this resolution to express their concerns with the actions of saudi arabia and the status of the war in yemen. disregarding the dangerous precedent this resolution will
set. the joint resolution improperly expands the definition of hostilities to include nonu.s. military operations by third countries. this bill then reinterprets the u.s. activities in support of those countries as u.s. engagement in said hostilities. the department of defense and the white house have both correctly stated that under the long-standing definition of hostilities, the united states is not engaged in such in yemen. in order to force a privileged measure in the senate, my colleagues had to expand and distort the definitions in the war powers resolution to achieve their goals. this is absolutely poor policy and we cannot support such a measure. the misuse of this privilege tool endangers u.s. security cooperation with 100 -- over 100 partners around the world to include israel, nato, and many anti-terror allies. i understand my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are unhappy with the actions taken by saudi arabia.
frankly i am as well. unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, mr. speaker, with imperfect actors. we must deal with reality, the reality of geopolitics in the way that they are and not the way that we wish they would be. we and i find many of the things the saudis to be doing are horrific, including the murder of muslim brotherhood member khashoggi. i was one of the first people to go on the record demanding the declassification of the 9/11 report concerning saudi arabia. but this will not be the first action saudi arabia takes that is counter to our beliefs here in the united states. during the first four months of 2018, saudi arabia beheaded 48 people. according to the reports, half of those deaths were nonviolent drug charges. the saudi kingdom executes its citizens for blast mi and crimes against the state. actions protected under the first amendment of the u.s.
constitution. i understand that we're dissatisfied. i am, too. but using poor policy to terminate assistance will not improve conditions in yemen. the r.g.c.'s own commander openly admitted iran provides military assistance to the houthis in yemen. in this body he we can stand with iran or the hutest or stand with israel and saudi arabia. this resolution is not the right step. it is poor policy. i encourage my colleagues to vote no and yield back. the chair: gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, very well respected member of the house foreign affairs committee, mr. lieu. mr. lieu: thank you for your leadership. i rise in support of this resolution. i want to commend congressman khanna for authoring it. it is another step in of pressure that congress has put
on the executive branch to get us out of this bloody war in yellen. in 2015 i wrote a letter in pentagon about what was then a little war in yemen asking why the u.s. was involved in war crimes committed by the saudis in yemen. i previously served in active duty in military. it was clear to me what the saudi jets were doing were war crimes. in 2016 i introduced legislation to limit the transfer of air to ground munition from the u.s. to saudi arabia and other members, such as welch and others, we were able to cause the obama administration to stop a shipment of air to ground emissions to saudi arabia. in 2017 i worked with representative ted yoho we helped insert language into the ndaa requesting the administration certify what the heck it was doing in yemen. and then last august i wrote a letter to the pentagon inspector general asking for an investigation of whether u.s. personnel were aiding and abetting saudi war crimes in yemen.
i'm very pleased a few months later in november of last year the trump administration announced it was going to stop the u.s. refueling of saudi jets in yemen. we need to pass this resolution as another step in increasing the pressure on the administration to get us out of the war in yemen. it's not a partisan issue. this started under obama's watch. continues under trump's. at the end of the day war crimes and humanitarian catastrophes are not partisan issues. every member of congress should vote for this. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from new york, ranking member of the oversight investigations subcommittee on foreign affairs, mr. zelled in. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. zeldin: i thank the lead republican, mike mccaul. have great respect for him as well as our committee chair, eliot engel. i rise today in opposition to h.j.res. 37 directing the removal of u.s. armed forces from unauthorized hostilities in yemen.
one of the reasons why is because we aren't even engaged in hostilities in yemen. the united states is not involved in any direct live fire exchanges. last november the u.s. stopped aerial refueling of saudi jets. according to the department of defense, u.s. support for the coalition is for defensive purposes only. it focuses only on helping minimize civilian casualties, which means that this is a resolution that if passed and implemented will actually result in less food and medicine getting into yemen, more civilians dying, the war will not end. . if anyone wants to propose a bill specifying assistance to saudi arabia they have the ability to do so. that is not this bill. what's also important is there are a lot of freshman members here in this chamber, and the fact we are rushing this to the floor so quickly without having
a classified briefing for all of those members is also deeply unfortunate. that should take place before passing this resolution. congress has many other ways to engage in oversight efforts for the u.s. security assistance with saudi arabia, including approving arms sales and through appropriations. our assistance for saudi arabia started in 2015 when the houthis overthrew a legitimate government and they were backed by iran. the houthis fired missiles against saudi arabia with support from iran and the u.s. provided intelligence and logistical support with the law of armed conflict. iran is providing training and support to the houthi rebels, including supplying ballistic missiles that have been fired into the united states -- into saudi arabia. in 2016, missiles were fired by iranian-backed houthi rebels at a u.s. navy war ship near the el-mendeb.
if this resolution passes, we are emboldening iran to continue their me nair yuss ambitions -- nefarious ambitions in the area. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i now yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, again, another valuable member of the foreign affairs committee, mr. espaillat. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. espaillat: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. engel, our chairman, for allowing me this opportunity. i rise today in support of house joint resolution 37, in which congress will finally -- we will reclaim our constitutional authority over the power to declare war and we will finally deal with a happening in yemen. for years we have supported the saudi-led campaign in yemen which has led to the greatest humanitarian crisis in that
region, in that country, a man-made crisis that we could have helped instead of contributed to. this is too long. the trarbgs has cozied up to the saudis, ignoring the harms they cause in yemen and their egregious violations of human rights. the president has expressed his personal affirmation for the saudi king on several occasions saying they give us a lot of business. and they have been a great ally to me. trump and those opposed to this resolution have argued that our ties to saudi arabia are too precious, that our cooperation in counterterrorism will be jeopardized by this resolution. but in december, when discussing an earlier version of this resolution, senator lindsey graham wrote the following, and i quote. the fear the saudis will stop cooperating with the u.s. on terrorism or iran is irrational. those threats pose as much of a danger to the saudis as they do to america.
demanding better from allies isn't downgrading our relationship. it's a sign americans take our principles, our principles seriously and won't be taken advantage of by anyone, friend or foe. i urge congress to reassert its constitutional authority, to work to end the suffering of millions and to pass this war powers resolution. this is what it is. thank you, mr. chair, and i yield back the remaining part of my time. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from kansas, a member of the house foreign affairs committee, mr. watkins. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. watkins: i thank my republican leader, mr. mccaul, for his leadership on this issue. mr. speaker, i rise today in opposition of h.j.res. 37, and i encourage my colleagues to do the same. as a combat veteran with many years of experience of conflict and postconflict environments,
i'm particularly concerned about this resolution. passing it would pose a threat to many other important bilateral agreements, agreements that help keep us and our allies safe and make he world beater place. even the resolution is misleading. our troops are not engaged in hostilities inside yemen. outside yemen the u.s. support an ally through intelligence-sharing, threat analysis and logistical support. the strength of our international relations lies on the numerous global relationships that we hold. we help each other understand, forecast, and eliminate threats. this is especially true in the arabian peninsula where isis and al qaeda have been notoriously active. furthermore, pertinent facts related to yemen are classified, leaving congress men and women to vote blind. we have a long history of free thinking bipartisanship when it
comes to foreign policy, and i'd ask my colleagues to think for themselves. not merely vote along party lines. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i yield one minute to another new member of the oreign affairs committee and e gentleman from maryland, mr. trone. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. trone: mr. chairman, i rise today to voice my support for the joint resolution. it's important for us in this institution, in this critical moment to undertake a serious debate regarding the use of u.s. military conflict in yemen. as my colleagues have pointed out, article 1 of our constitution clearly states the power to declare war belongs to the congress.
congress must put down a marker, stating it's unacceptable for our military to support hostilities we have not authorized. our saudi led coalition efforts in yemen have proven problematic in so many ways. he impact on lives is real and painful. over 60,000 lives have been lost. ultimately the question should be real simple. did congress authorize our military to engage in hostilities in yemen? the answer's no. so today we must pass this resolution to stand up for our constitution, stand up for what's right. i urge my colleagues to support . thank you. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. chairman, i yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from colorado, mr. lamborn. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. lamborn: thank you, mr.
chairman. i thank the chairman of the committee -- excuse me -- the ranking member of the committee for his leadership. i rise to speak against this resolution which would direct the removal of u.s. forces from yemen. this resolution is dangerous, and the majority should immediately take this vote off of our schedule. the majority claims to be concerned about the threat of iranian and russian influence around the world. if that were the case, they would not force a vote on this war powers resolution. let's be clear. the u.s. is not involved in hostilities in yemen, so this resolution would set a dangerous precedent by calling into question many security agreements we have with nations around the world, which do not involve hostilities. the pentagon has repeatedly stated that america is only providing support to our allies in the region as they combat the houthis and everyone is trying to reduce civilian casualties. ultimately, we want to limit iran's ability to gain more influence in the renal. the houthi rebels are just one
part of the iranian regime's proxy battles around the world. with the ultimate goal to destroy israel, america, and all those who share our democratic values. a vote for this resolution is a vote for iran. a vote against this resolution is a vote for israel. i urge my colleagues to vote no on this dangerous resolution, and i urge the administration to veto this resolution if it should somehow pass. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from wisconsin, a champion of progressive causes, mr. pocan. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 1 1/2 minutes. mr. pocan: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, mr. chairman, for shepherding this important resolution to the floor. today, yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis on the
planet. 85,000 children under the age of 5 have died of starvation since 20 15, and 1 -- 2015 and 150 children die every single day. the u.s., alongside saudi arabia, which has used starvation as a weapon of war, has supported targeting for deadly air strikes, provided lonlistical support, refueling, and -- logistical support, refueling and it's time for these activities to end absent congressional consent. the american people deserve a transparent debate, and a vote by congress per article 1, section 8 of the constitution before the u.s. engages in war making. while the president is tweeting about wars and nuclear bombs, we must reassert our authority and end the unconstitutional u.s. participation in yemen's civil war. i urge all my colleagues to vote in favor of this resolution, and i yield back my remaining time to my friend from new york.
the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield one minute to the distinguished gentleman from ohio, mr. davidson. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. davidson: thank you. i thank the chairman for allowing me time as i do support h.j.res. 37. fundamentally it's about article 1 and the authority of congress as addressed in federalist 69. as the president said, great powers don't fight endless wars. i would add that nor do they fight undeclared or participate in undeclared wars. the united states is not participating in the yemen war in the sense that many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have characterized. in fact, i personally asked secretary mattis on two occasions to help draft authorization against iranian proxies. so this is at best a half measure in that it stops any active participation in undeclared, unauthorized combat, but it also fails to advance the policy of our country which is to treat iran
as the threat it is, not just to the united states of america, but to its neighbors and our allies in the region. i yield. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i now yield one minute to the gentlewoman from california, ms. lee. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. lee: thank you very much. i want to thank the gentleman for yielding. also, i want to thank representatives khanna, pocan, mcgovern, for their work in bringing this very critical measure to the floor. of course, i rise in strong support of h.j.res. 37, and today i'm remembering our dear friend and colleague, congressman walter jones, who was an original co-sponsor. i miss him tremendously. and i know he would be down here speaking on behalf of this resolution. since 2015, the united states has participated in the saudi-led military campaign in yemen without authorization from congress. and we have helped create and worsen the world's largest
humanitarian crisis. 22.2 yemenis, 75% of the population need humanitarian assistance. at least 85,000 children under the age of 5 have died from war-related hunger and disease. our involvement in this war, quite frankly, it is shameful. that's why this bipartisan measure to end the united states' unconstitutional role in this war is so important. i've long pushed efforts to repeal the overly broad 2001 authorization for the use of military force. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on h.j.res. 73 and to support this bipartisan bill to end the united states' role in the war on yemen. the chair: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. chairman, i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i now yield two minutes to another very valued member of the foreign affairs
committee, the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. connolly: i thank the chair and i thank the distinguished chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. what a delight to call him that title. i rise in support of h.j.res. 37, directing the president to remove u.s. armed forces from hostilities in or affecting yemen within 30 days. since 2015, the united states has provided support to the saudi-led coalition in its war against the houthi rebels in yemen. in addition to claiming an estimated 60,000 yemeni lives, this war is fueling the world's largest humanitarian and refugee crisis. humanitarian agencies estimate that 85,000 children have died from malnutrition, more than half the population currently requires emergency food assistance and one in every 10 yemeni children has been forcibly displaced from their homes due to the conflict. in september of 2018, secretary pompeo certified to congress that the saudi government was
emitting harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure in yemen. meanwhile, the saudi-led coalition conducted attacks killing dozens of civilians at a time, often with u.s.-provided munitions. article 1, section 8, clause 2 of the united states constitution states unequivocally that congress shall have the power to declare war and to raise and support armies and other armed forces. that's congress' prerogative in the constitution. . without a specific statutory authorization from congress. congress must reclaim its constitutional role and american complicity in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in yemen must end. that's why i'm glad to support h.j.res. 37. which would direct such a removal of u.s. armed forces from hostilities associated with
the saudi-led coalition war in yemen. importantly, this legislation defines hostilities to include refueling of non-u.s. aircraft, conducting counter houthi missions. mr. chairman, i urge support of the resolution and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. eltelt i it's -- mr. engel: it's my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. doggett. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. doggett: finally this house is doing what the constitution demands. to debate war and peace. the problem here is that president trump has essentially subcontracted out american foreign policy in the middle east to a murderous saudi regime. and the result has been that 85,000 little children under the age of 5 have been starved to
death or have died of disease as a result of saudi blockades and aggression. indifference to their suffering is dooming a generation. unlawful, murderous air strikes with bombs made in america on schools, on hospitals, on weddings, on markets. and you know, all these people that speak out about the security of israel and of america, they seem to have forget than these same saudis have been giving away american-made weapons to al qaeda, al qaeda. once the sworn enemy of the houthis about whom they complain. the saudi leadership, which approved the killing and dismemberment of an american resident journalist, is unsurprisingly not moved by the suffering of these children. their intent on annihilation of the yemenis. we cannot let the slaughter continue in the name of american
taxpayers. the saudis do not represent our values, but they're using our tax dollars and our weapons. instead of shutting down our government, president trump needs to shut down cooperation with the regime that tortures women, who speak out, who kills its enemies who dare to speak the truth, and is waging an immoral conflict, the world's largest humanitarian catastrophe. the days of symbolic action have to be past. months, years, hundreds of small graves ago, this congress should have acted. today we can act to put a stop to this nonsense, this missed appropriation of our values in the middle east. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. chairman, i continue to reserve. the chair: thank you. the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i now yield two minutes to the gentleman from vermont, mr. welch. the chair: the gentleman is
recognized for two minutes. mr. welch: i thank the gentleman. i've listened to the arguments of my colleagues who say that saudi arabia is an ally and a partner and we have to support them. saudi arabia is a questionable ally, we all know that. and it's time to re-examine that relationship. but i have a question, that this raises. if we have an ally that is engaged in violent strikes, killing innocent civilians, including children, do we turn a blind eye and condone that behavior because it's, quote, an ally? do we condone the bombing of schools, of hospitals, of funerals because it's a partner or an ally? do we disregard our own responsibility as human beings
to oppose violence against nnlts because that violence is being innocents because that violence is being pepper -- because that violence -- innocents, because that violence is being perpetrated by an ally? it's true, our troops are not there, but our bombs are. our midair refuelers are. our targeting folks are. we are allowing ourselves to be complicit in what is the greatest humanitarian tragedy that is on the face of this earth at this moment. we should not be doing that and we should stop by voting for this resolution. mr. speaker, we have a proud tradition in this country that both sides want to honor. and that's to stand up for freedom and for human decency and dignity. to policy of saudi arabia
bomb and bomb again and bomb yet again, despite the devastating impact on innocent people, despite how reckless and ineffective it is, must end. let's end it. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. chairman, i continue to reserve. the chair: thank you. the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i also reserve at this time. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. chairman, i have no further speakers so i'm prepared to close. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mccaul: let me just say a ew points. we all condemn khashoggi. i've condemned it publicly, very strongly, what happened with the
saudis killing khashoggi. executing him. we're talking about the situation in yemen. and who started this humanitarian crisis in the first place? the houthis tried to take over the yemen government. the houthis, backed by iran. this is about geopolitics of iran, houthis in yemen, iran and the shi'a crescent in iraq and syria, and a direct threat to israel. the largest state sponsor of terror, iran, that is a mortal sworn enemy to israel, as they chant death to israel, death to america, so let's put this all in proper context. of what we're really talking about here. are we defending iran and the houthis here? today? so i'd like to close by putting two documents in the record. the first is a letter sent by the department of defense, office of general counsel,
stating that d.o.d. opposes the resolution because the resolution's fundamental premise is flawed. because the united states support to the saudi-led coalition, quote, does not involve any introduction of u.s. forces into hostilities. are we going to go around and second guess every security cooperation agreement we have with 117 countries, including israel, and nato? and other partners? and the second is a statement of the administration's policy on this point. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent that these documents be entered into the record. mr. chairman, i ask that these be entered by unanimous consent. the chair: the gentleman's request will be covered by general leave. the gentleman is recognized. mr. mccaul: let me say this too. i'm deeply troubled by the one-sided nature of this resolution. and what is missing from this resolution, what i stated earlier, that is iran, the world's leading state sponsor of
terror, and the houthis' benefactor. by staying silent on iran and by not condemning the houthis in this resolution, it sends a green light to the houthis and to their iranian backers to press on. this resolution is counterproductive also to the efforts that are ongoing right now to negotiate peace in yemen between the houthi rebels and the government of yemen. as we speak, the u.n. envoy is working with the full support of the united states to negotiate a political resolution to this conflict. getting to these talks has required placing substantial pressure on all parties involved. the u.n. is encouraging the houthis to uphold these agreements and to make further with them he's in government and the saudi--- yemenese government and the saudi-led coalition. but this resolution might cut the u.n. efforts off at its knees.
the democrats can't tell specifically what assistance this resolution cuts off, but what i can say for sure is that if this -- what this resolution says to the houthis and to iran is, you've got a green light. keep going on. you can gain more ground and cause more destruction and humanitarian crisis and cause more problems for israel and our saudi ally. advancing this pro-houthi, pro-iran, anti-israel resolution does not help to end this war. it only emboldens the rebels and iran who violently overthrew yemen's government. and the radical regime that backs them, iran. so i would say, mr. chairman, in closing, this resolution is not only dangerous -- a dangerous precedent legally, it violates the construction of the war powers act, but it is damaging
anded have -- and very bad policy and i urge my colleagues to vote against it. and with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. well, my colleagues, today is the day that congress begins to take back its jurisdiction over war and peace. for time after time and year after year, administration after administration, congress after congress, the congress has reling wished its responsibility --ry link wished its responsibility -- relinquished its responsibility given to us by the constitution. the constitution says congress has the power to wage war. and, yes, since president roosevelt declared war against japan on december 7, 1941, we've had war after war and conflict after conflict and congress has not had anything to do with it. congress has been silent. this is not a matter of whether a war is a good war or a bad war. this is a matter of the fact that this congress needs to make
that determination. article 1 makes us a co-equal branch of government. and again, for too long we've had administration after administration, republican and democratic, usurp the power that should be the congress'. so this is the day, my colleagues, we begin to take it back. i know that my friends on the other side of the aisle have been saying that this is not the best way to do it. but, you know, i've learned through the years that if you don't take the bull by the hurricane florence, it's never the best way to do it. -- horns, it's never the best way to do it. there's always a reason not to do it. there's always a way to point out certain things and say, this isn't the perfect situation. this isn't the perfect situation. i'd be the first to say that. but it is perfect in terms of saying, we will take back our jurisdiction and do what the american people elected us to do. again, i want to thank mr.
connor for his tireless work on this issue. as i mentioned, this measure is an important step in congress reclaiming its role in foreign policy, by debating where and when the united states military is engaged abroad. i don't think that's too much to ask. i think that's what we should be doing. with the humanitarian crisis in yemen, it's critical that we act now. we can go after iran another time and heaven knows i've been he sponsor of many resolutions and bills sanctioning iran. but this is not to mix apples with oranges. there is a civil war going on now in yemen and innocent children are dying. we have an ability to put an end to that and that's what we should do. with this humanitarian crisis, it's critical that we don't delay. so i urge my colleagues to support -- to join me in supporting it and i yield back. the chair: