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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Young on War in Yemen  CSPAN  November 28, 2018 7:46pm-8:01pm EST

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things that they are doing to quell dissent in and around the kingdom. we need to send a message but we also need to get the united states out of the conflict right now that is doing no benefit to american national security and has become a nightmare for people who are stuck in yemen today. i urge passage of the resolution and yield the floor. t
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deserves. now, before saying where i'm going to come down on today's vote, i'd like to discuss why i oppose this resolution, senate joint resolution 54 in march. what's happened since then and why i plan to vote the way i do today. in march i voted to table senate joint resolution 54. in a speech here on the senate floor on march 20, i explained my three reasons for doing so at that time. first, i expressed concern the bill hadn't been considered and marked up by the senate foreign relations committee of which i am a member. second, i said it would never become law because the administration has threatened to veto it. and even if congress were able to override a veto, i said it
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would fail to achieve its stated objective because the administration rejects the premise that the legislation is related to hostilities in yemen. and third, i said i wanted to introduce legislation that could actually pass and provide the administration with the leverage it needs to pressure the government of saudi arabia to do two things. number one, end the civil war in yemen. and number two, improve the humanitarian situation. which transpired -- what's transpired since then? well, i along with senators shaheen, collins and coons, introduced senate joint resolution 58 on april 11. our bill required the secretary of state to repeatedly certify that the government of saudi arabia is taking urgent steps to end the civil war in yemen, alleviate the humanitarian crisis, and reduce the risk to civilians.
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and if he cannot make these written, detailed, and unclassified certifications, the legislation would prohibit u.s. air refueling for saudi-led coalition aircraft conducting missions exclusively focused on the civil war in yemen. we, in a bipartisan way, worked successfully to ensure that the senate foreign relations committee and the senate armed services committee passed versions of our legislation. we then worked in a bipartisan way to ensure it was included in the national defense authorization act, section 1290, which the president of the united states signed into law. in september , pursuant to section 1290, secretary of state pompeo sent to congress the required submission requiring saudi actions in yemen. now, secretary pompeo chose not to use the national security
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waiver and instead certified that saudi arabia was indeed taking urgent steps to end the civil war in yemen, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, and to reduce risk to civilians. now, there were numerous problems with the secretary of state's certifications. number one, the secretary certified that saudi arabia was undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations in yemen. that was not a credible certification because we saw in the preceding months a dramatic increase in civilian casualties and deaths. number two, the secretary certified that the saudis were complying with applicable agreements and laws, regulating
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defense articles purchased or transferred from the united states. that also was not a credible certification because the secretary's own memorandum of justification for the section 1290 submission explicitly said the saudis were not doing so. the document was directly and explicitly self-contradictory. in summary, as a group of us wrote in a letter i led on october 10 to our secretary of state, it was difficult to reconcile known facts with at least two of the certifications. in other words, the secretary section 1290 is the law of the land, a statute signed into law by the president of the united states, was not credible. despite repeated requests for answers to our questions regarding saudi arabia and yemen, we couldn't get
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responsive sore timely answers from the administration. after repeatedly calling for the administration to do so, i appreciatived the -- appreciated the decision to no longer provide air refueling to the sawed subsidies in yemen. again, ippreciateed that decision. -- i appreciated that decision. however, i was disappointed that the administration didn't use section 1290 to end the air refueling. why is this important? such an approach would have demonstrated respect for the law, and this article 1 -- in this article 1 branch of government. it the would have also provided the administration additional leverage to persuade the saudis to support our objectives, not the saudis' objectives, our objectives in yemen. i also thought the claim that the sawed subsidies requested shall the saudis requests an end was lamentable. in our october 10 letter, seven
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of us -- again, a bipartisan group -- asked for answers in a umin of questions related to saudi arabia and yemen and the section 1290 certification. we asked for a response by october 31. failing to receive those answers from the administration on november 15, more than two weeks after the deadline, i worked with ranking
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