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Join Murphy, Paul, Durbin & Franken: Block Selling Arms to Saudis to Kill Civilians

Saudi Arabia's war and blockade have pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. But the Trump Administration wants to sell Saudi Arabia even more weapons. Under U.S. law, weapons exports are supposed to be conditioned on requirements that civilians be protected from their use. Unfortunately, Congressional "oversight" of U.S. weapons exports has often been virtually absent, particularly for countries like Saudi Arabia that have bought a lot of influence in Washington.

Senators Murphy, Paul, Durbin and Franken have now introduced Senate Joint Resolution 40, which would tighten these requirements in the case of Saudi Arabia. Under SJRes40, the Administration would have to publicly certify that Saudi Arabia is complying with international humanitarian law in Yemen and facilitating the flow of aid into Yemen in order for arms sales to proceed.

On September 21, 27 Senators voted against arming Saudi Arabia. The more Senators co-sponsor SJRes40, the more Senate support we have for blocking the sale of weapons if Saudi Arabia doesn't change its behavior in Yemen.

Urge Senators to co-sponsor SJRes40 by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Tell Trump: he has 48 hours to report on his unauthorized Syria strike

On Thursday, April 6, President Trump attacked Syria without Congressional authorization, violating the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.

Following Nixon's unauthorized escalations of the Vietnam War, the Congressional Framers of the War Powers Resolution knew that it was likely that future Presidents would try to use military force without Congressional authorization. That's why they put multiple mechanisms in the WPR to help future Congresses defend their war powers.

One of those mechanisms was the requirement that the President report in writing to Congress within 48 hours of using military force without a declaration of war, stating: "(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces; (B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and (C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement."

On April 7, Reps. Peter DeFazio [OR-], Mark Pocan [WI-2], Barbara Lee [CA-13], and James McGovern [MA-2] sent a letter to Trump reminding him that under the War Powers Resolution, he has 48 hours to report to Congress on his unauthorized strike.

Add your voice to those of DeFazio, Pocan, Lee and McGovern by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Congress: Oppose Illegal War in Syria

President Trump has attacked Syria without Congressional authorization, violating the U.S. Constitution. Congress must assert its war powers, invoking the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.

Congress must insist that no further attacks take place without Congressional authorization and that U.S. forces be withdrawn from unauthorized conflict. Congress must invoke the War Powers Resolution to debate and vote on a privileged resolution for the withdrawal of U.S. forces if President Trump refuses to remove U.S. forces from the conflict.

Urge your representatives to invoke the War Powers Resolution to withdraw U.S. forces from unauthorized conflict by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Call Your Rep.: Trump Must Come to Congress Before Attacking Hodeida

Some in the Trump Administration want to get the U.S. directly involved in Saudi Arabia's war in and blockade of Yemen. U.S. participation in this war has never been authorized by Congress. The Houthi Shia adversaries of the Saudi war aren't "associated forces" of Al Qaeda. On the contrary: Al Qaeda has fought alongside Saudi Arabia against the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis has strengthened Al Qaeda. Since Congress has never authorized this war, direct U.S. participation would violate the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Reps. Mark Pocan [D-WI], Justin Amash [R-MI], Ted Lieu [D-CA], and Walter Jones [R-NC] are leading a bipartisan letter challenging the Administration to show its legal justification for direct participation in the Saudi war.

Call your Rep. now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"As a constituent, I urge you to sign the the Pocan-Amash-Lieu-Jones letter pressing the Trump Administration to show its legal justification for direct U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

Help Reps. Pocan, Amash Challenge U.S. Role in Saudis' Yemen War

U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's war and blockade in Yemen has brought Yemen to the brink of famine, with hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children facing starvation. Instead of ending the carnage, some in the Trump Administration want to get the U.S. directly involved in Saudi Arabia's war. But this war has never been authorized by Congress. The Houthi Shia targets of the Saudi war aren't "associated forces" of Al Qaeda. On the contrary: Al Qaeda has fought alongside Saudi Arabia against the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia's war against the Houthis has strengthened Al Qaeda. Since Congress has never authorized this war, direct U.S. participation would violate the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.

Now Reps. Mark Pocan [D-WI], Justin Amash [R-MI], Ted Lieu [D-CA], and Walter Jones [R-NC] are leading a bipartisan letter challenging the Administration to show its legal justification for direct participation in the Saudi war against the Houthis without Congressional authorization. Building support for this letter is a step towards invoking the War Powers Resolution to compel the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the conflict.

Urge your Representative to sign the Pocan-Amash-Lieu-Jones letter by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Oppose AIPAC Bills Attacking Iran Deal & Palestinian Human Rights

Lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] are pressing Members of Congress to co-sponsor bills that attack the Iran nuclear agreement by imposing new sanctions on Iran [S.722 & H.R.1698] and attack Palestinian self-determination by promoting Israeli settlements in the West Bank [S.720 & H.R.1697].

Urge your reps. to oppose these bills by signing our petition at MoveOn.

S.722 would designate part of Iran's military as a terrorist organization, which would obstruct contact between the U.S. and Iranian militaries. U.S. military leaders have opposed this move on the grounds that it would undermine the U.S. fight against ISIS in Iraq.

Your Senator called for opening Hodeida. Urge them to make it so

On March 23, a bipartisan group of ten Senators urged Secretary of State Tillerson to launch an urgent diplomatic effort to address obstacles in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it. They specifically called for opening Yemen's Hodeida port to humanitarian aid to avert famine.

Call your Senator now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"Thank you for calling for opening Hodeida to humanitarian aid. I urge you to use your ability to reject arms deals to force Saudi Arabia to comply with your demand."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

About Yemen, the ten Senators wrote:

"In Yemen, the World Food Program estimates that 80% of the population is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. In short, millions of innocent people will starve to death without concerted and urgent action in the coming weeks…In Yemen, we ask that the Department of State work urgently with stakeholders to persuade combatants to permit humanitarian groups increased access to Red Sea ports like Hodeida to deliver much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities."

Former U.S. officials have said that failure to open Hodeida to food imports could tip Yemen into famine.

TODAY: Press Dick Durbin to talk about famine at Illinois Wesleyan

At 5:30 PM today, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is having a Town Hall Meeting at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

Please call Dick Durbin's office in Springfield now at 217-492-4062. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge Senator Durbin in his speech at Illinois Wesleyan to join the bipartisan call on Saudi Arabia to permit humanitarian groups access to Hodeida to avert famine in Yemen."

When you've made your call, please report it below.

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of ten Senators urged Secretary of State Tillerson to launch an urgent diplomatic effort to address obstacles in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it.

About Yemen, the ten Senators wrote:

[...]
In Yemen, the World Food Program estimates that 80% of the population is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. In short, millions of innocent people will starve to death without concerted and urgent action in the coming weeks.
[...]

[...]
In Yemen, we ask that the Department of State work urgently with stakeholders to persuade combatants to permit humanitarian groups increased access to Red Sea ports like Hodeida to deliver much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities.
[...]

Please call Dick Durbin at 217-492-4062 now.

And if you haven't signed our petition to Senator Durbin yet, you can do that here.

NPR: Report UN Famine Warning for Yemen & US Role in the War

The United Nations has warned that Yemen is on the brink of famine. The primary cause of the impending famine is Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. This war is supported by the United States - not only with U.S. weapons, but with direct U.S. military participation, including refueling of Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemen. In particular, the U.S. is perceived to support the Saudi blockade of the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which has been the primary entry point for food, medicine, and humanitarian aid to northern Yemen. Stephen O'Brien, the UN's humanitarian aid coordinator and 53 Members of the House of Representatives have called for the port of Hodeida to be re-opened to humanitarian aid.

Urge NPR to fully report the UN's famine warning for Yemen by signing our petition at MoveOn.

No Arms Deal for Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Famine

While President Trump has lunch with Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, children in Yemen are starving to death. Stephen O'Brien, the United Nations top aid official, has demanded that Yemen's Hodeida port, currently blockaded and attacked by Saudi Arabia, be opened to food imports to avert famine. 53 Members of the House have urged Secretary of State Tillerson to "use all U.S. diplomatic tools to help open the Yemeni port of Hodeida to international aid humanitarian aid organizations to allow them to import food, fuel, and medicine into northern Yemen and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni children who face starvation."

The Trump Administration wants to sell Saudi Arabia weapons that were put on hold by President Obama. Senator Rand Paul [R-KY] and Senator Chris Murphy [D-CT] oppose the sale. "I don't know why we would give them precision-guided munitions that allow them to target civilians more efficiently,” Senator Murphy said.

Urge your Representative and Senators to oppose the Saudi arms deal by signing our petition at MoveOn.