war powers

Congress: Stop UAE Siege of Hodeida, Save 250,000 Yemeni Lives

The government of the United Arab Emirates has threatened to siege the crucial Yemeni port of Hodeida in the coming weeks. The UN and aid groups have warned that this could kill 250,000 Yemenis. The UAE’s response was: “The price is right.”

Even top House Democrats who have expressed support for Saudi-UAE war aims in Yemen have publicly stated that attacking Hodeida would not achieve stated Saudi-UAE goals. It would not weaken the position of the Houthis at the bargaining table. It would not strengthen the position of Saudi-UAE at the bargaining table. It would just increase the death and suffering of thousands of innocent Yemeni civilians for no reason at all, except to appease the dictatorial regimes ruling Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The UN and aid groups have also warned that ten million more Yemenis will be pushed to the edge of starvation if the war is not ended this year.

There is no good reason for this war to continue. Congress has never authorized U.S. participation, without which the war would end. The UN envoy has stated repeatedly that he is close to a deal to stop the Saudi-UAE assault on Hodeida and resume peace talks. Sources close to the UN say the key missing ingredient for the deal is sufficient U.S. pressure on Saudi-UAE. They also say that Congress has the leverage to stop the UAE from following through on its threat to siege Hodeida.

But top Democrats in Congress continue to poor-mouth the leverage of Congress to stop the UAE from carrying out its threat, even though Congress just passed legislation conditioning U.S. participation in the war on Saudi-UAE efforts to end it through diplomacy.

Urge Congress to stop the UAE siege of Hodeida and save 250,000 Yemeni lives by signing our petition:


Urge your Rep. to co-sponsor Khanna-Massie to stop the Saudi famine in Yemen

Reps. Ro Khanna, Thomas Massie, Mark Pocan, and Walter Jones have introduced a privileged bipartisan bill invoking the War Powers Resolution to force a floor vote on ending U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's famine-producing war in Yemen. The current cosponsors are: Conyers, Lieu, Capuano, Ellison, McGovern, Lee, Raskin, Jayapal, Gabbard, Bass, Pallone, DeFazio, Nolan, Lofgren, Cohen, Slaughter, Blumenauer, Norton, Dingell, Walz, Doggett, Welch, Grijalva, Rush, McCollum, Clark, Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Hanabusa, Cooper, Jackson Lee, Labrador, Watson Coleman, and Waters.

If your Rep. is not yet a co-sponsor, call them now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge you to co-sponsor the privileged bipartisan Khanna-Massie resolution to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen."

If your Rep. is already a co-sponsor, please thank them for co-sponsoring the bill.

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

And you can sign and share our petition to the House here.

One Million Malnourished Kids At Risk Of Cholera In Yemen

More than a million malnourished children are living in areas of Yemen hit hardest by a cholera outbreak, NPR reports. Malnourished children have substantially reduced immune systems and are at least three times more likely to die if they contract cholera. Yemen's cholera outbreak is already the world's worst in a single year since records have been kept. Treatment for cholera in Yemen would be straightforward, if it weren't for the U.S.-enabled Saudi-UAE war in Yemen.

UNICEF director Anthony Lake was clear when asked by The Associated Press about how to end the disaster: "Stop the war."

So far, the House Republican leadership has blocked a floor vote on ending U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's Yemen war. But House Members could force a floor vote by invoking their Congressional war powers, since, as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker has acknowledged, Congress never authorized this war.

Urge House Members to force a floor vote on the war to help save a million kids by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Unacceptable: Congress blocked vote on the Saudi famine-war in Yemen.

Last week, efforts to get a floor vote in the House on U.S. participation in the Saudi-UAE famine-war in Yemen on the Defense Appropriation were blocked by the House Republican leadership.

There's only one path left to force a floor vote in the House on U.S. participation in the Saudi famine-war: press House Members to use their Congressional war powers to force a debate and vote on withdrawing unauthorized U.S. participation from Saudi Arabia's war - just as Dennis Kucinich forced a House vote on U.S. participation in the unauthorized war in Libya in 2011.

Help us force a House vote on Saudi Arabia's famine-war by signing our petition at MoveOn.

U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's war is politically vulnerable in the House, if we can force a vote:

- Congress has never authorized U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen has nothing to do with the U.S. wars on Al Qaeda or ISIS.
- U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's war is a pure "war of choice." It has nothing to do with protecting the U.S. homeland. The Obama Administration began U.S. participation in the war as a "favor" to Saudi Arabia, to "compensate" them for accepting the Iran nuclear deal.
- Saudi Arabia's war is helping Al Qaeda, by creating a security vacuum in Yemen, and because Saudi Arabia is allied with Al Qaeda against the Houthi-Saleh alliance in Yemen.
- Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine, creating the largest humanitarian crisis in the world and the worst cholera outbreak in the world. UNICEF says a child is dying in Yemen of preventable causes like malnutrition and diarrhea every ten minutes.

TODAY 6pm: Use Ted Lieu phone-in "town hall" to oppose Trump's Yemen war!

President Trump has threatened to escalate U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen by conducting drone strikes on Shia Houthi rebels. U.S. military action against Shia Houthi rebels has never been authorized by Congress. That means that under the War Powers Resolution, a single Member of Congress can introduce a privileged resolution to force a debate and vote on U.S. participation in the war before Trump carries out his threat.

LA Rep. Ted Lieu would be the natural person to do this: he's been a leader in Congress on criticizing U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen. But, many Members of Congress see invoking the War Powers Resolution as a dramatic step. We need to show Rep. Lieu that people in Los Angeles want him to do this, that if Rep. Lieu takes this step, people in Los Angeles will have his back.

Today Rep. Lieu is hosting a phone-in "town hall." This gives us an opportunity to engage Rep. Lieu directly.

Just before 6pm Pacific Time, call: 877-353-4701 [toll free.] If you get to ask a question, you can say something like:

"I'm concerned by Trump's threat to escalate the Saudi war in Yemen by conducting drone strikes against the Houthis. This has never been authorized by Congress. I urge you to invoke the War Powers Resolution to challenge U.S. participation in the Saudi war before Trump can carry out his threat."

If you're able to call in, please report your call below, even if you don't get to ask a question. We'll report to Rep. Lieu's office how many people called in to ask for the invocation of Congressional war powers against Trump's threat to escalate in Yemen.

Use War Powers to Remove U.S. Forces from Saudi Bombing of Yemen

As Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has noted, U.S. participation in the Saudi bombing of Yemen has never been authorized by Congress.

Urge your reps. to use their war powers to force a vote on removing U.S. forces from the Saudi bombing of Yemen by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Saudi Arabia's conduct is now coming under unprecedented scrutiny. New evidence has recently emerged that the U.S. intelligence community believes that the government of Saudi Arabia has been supporting ISIS. But Congress has never voted on whether the U.S. should be refueling Saudi planes that are bombing Yemen, even though U.S. officials have warned that the U.S. could be implicated in war crimes for supporting the Saudi bombing of Yemen.

Under section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, "at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution."

Urge your reps. to use their war powers to force a vote on removing U.S. forces from the Saudi bombing of Yemen by signing and sharing our petition.

This Week, Senate Democrats Can Limit the ISIS War

At long last, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote this week on an authorization for the use of force for the war against ISIS that started in early August. There is little doubt that a majority of the committee supports the use of force against ISIS. What will be revealed this week is what limits the committee will support in authorizing the use of force.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has proposed to prohibit the use of U.S. ground troops in combat except for rescue missions and "limited operations against high-value targets" -- that is, against terrorist leaders who directly threaten the United States. Kaine's proposed authorization would expire in one year unless renewed by Congress and would require the White House to give legislators a list of groups that might be covered by the authorization because they are associated with the Islamic State.

Iraq war powers: where do House members stand?

This post is so that I can refer to my spreadsheet in blogging. For now, the attached spreadsheet is not intended to be pretty, only to be accurate. My hope is especially to educate journalists to the fact that nearly half the House is on record opposing the invocation of the 2002 Iraq AUMF to justify the use of force in Iraq today.

The columns are as follows:

Lee-Rigell Iraq (80): the eighty signers of the Rigell-Lee Iraq war powers letter, which is here: http://lee.house.gov/sites/lee.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Scanned%20from%20a%20Xerox%20multifunction%20device001_0.pdf Lee's press release is here: http://lee.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/bipartisan-letter-calls-for-congressional-authorization-before-any-military

nix Iraq AUMF (182): the 182 House Members who voted on June 19 to bar funding for using the 2002 Iraq AUMF. That roll call is here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll326.xml

nix AUMF: this column has a 1 if the person voted to defund the Iraq AUMF.

either (192): this column has a 1 if the person signed the Rigell-Lee letter, voted to defund the AUMF, or both. 192 Members are in this category. That is, 192 Members of the House are on record as opposing the use of the 2002 Iraq AUMF in Iraq today.

R-L not AUMF (10): these are the ten Members of the House who signed the Rigell-Lee letter but did not vote yes on defunding the Iraq AUMF on June 19. They are: Julia Brownley (voted no) Michael Capuano (did not vote) Andre Carson (voted no) Eleanor Holmes Norton (not allowed to vote) Collin Peterson (voted no) Charles B. Rangel (did not vote) Bobby L. Rush (did not vote) Matt Salmon (voted no) Kyrsten Sinema (voted no) Bennie M. Thompson (did not vote).

Bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter to Pres. Obama on Iraq: respect Constitution on using force

Virginia Republican Scott Rigell and California Democrat Barbara Lee are leading a bipartisan letter to President Obama, urging the President to respect the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Iraq.

To urge your Representative to sign the bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter, sign our petition at MoveOn.

Here is the letter:


Dear Mr. President:

We join you and with those in the international community who are expressing grave concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq over the last days and weeks. The consequences of this development are particularly troubling given the extraordinary loss of American lives and expenditure of funds over ten years that was claimed to be necessary to bring democracy, stability and a respect for human rights to Iraq. 

We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a “quick” and “easy” military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq. We also appreciate your acknowledgement that this conflict requires a political solution, and that military action alone cannot successfully lead to a resolution.

We do not believe intervention could be either quick or easy. And, we doubt it would be effective in meeting either humanitarian or strategic goals, and that it could very well be counter-productive. This is a moment for urgent consultations and engagement with all parties in the region who could bring about a cease fire and launch a dialogue that could lead to a reconciliation of the conflict.

Any solution to this complex crisis can only be achieved through a political settlement, and nothing short of that can successfully bring stability to Iraq or the region and only  if the process and outcome is inclusive of all segments of the Iraqi population.

Congressional letter on Syria War Powers

The office of Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-02) is circulating the following letter on Congressional war powers. It closes at noon Wednesday, August 28. Urge your Representative to sign the Rigell letter by calling the Congressional switchboard, 202-225-3121. There is a Roll Call article about this letter here: Get Authorization for Syria, House Lawmakers Say

 Dear Mr. President,


We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria.  Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.