This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 201 - 187 to pass H.R. 1142, a rule appended to H.R. 6784, the “Manage Our Wolves Act”. H.R. 1142 stripped H.Con.Res. 138, a war powers resolution to end US military support to the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war, of its privilege, preventing a vote on its underlying substance.
This arbitrary parliamentary maneuver, initiated by the majority party’s leadership, is an unbelievable insult to the thousands of Yemeni civilians killed in the conflict, and the hundreds of thousands suffering the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. According to outgoing Republican leadership, this horrific crisis, directly perpetuated by US diplomatic and military policy, is unworthy of a debate by members of the House. It is a non-issue, secondary, at best, to legislation concerning the control of gray wolf populations in select states.
The treatment of US complicity in Yemen’s crisis as a non-issue -- something to be sidestepped, ignored, de-privileged -- is of a piece with US policy toward the country extending back decades. The logic that pushed leadership to de-privilege this resolution is the same logic that led US officials to withdraw economic aid to Yemen in 1990 in a fit of diplomatic pique, encouraged the US military to drone strike Yemeni civilians with impunity for over a decade, and factored into the prior administration’s decision to extend support to the coalition’s intervention into Yemen’s civil war in March 2015. The United States can, time after time, inflict horrific violence on Yemenis, while simultaneously treating it as a topic outside the bounds of debate.
It is our sincere hope that the Senate rejects this logic and moves to pass S.J.Res. 54 in the coming weeks, and that next year, a new Congress gives Yemen’s man-made catastrophe the attention it desperately needs, breaking with what seems to be a time-honored tradition of American politics.