The Senate veto override vote on the Yemen war powers resolution failed to get a 2/3rds majority. The final count ended up being 53-45. While this vote is a set back, our work to end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen is far from over. There is still much Congress can do to end the war. They have the power of the purse and can vote to defund the war and stop arm sales in the National Defense Authorization Act over the summer. They’ve also got the arms export control act and can use that to stop arms sales. Rep McGovern has a stand alone bill in the House to do that as well. There is also the possibility of legal action. Some Yemeni Activists are considering filing a joint lawsuit against the Trump Administration right now. Some are even calling for impeachment. This fight is far from over.
Though this is a hard moment for everyone that worked so hard on this bill, I’d argue that the momentum is with us. We have bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress that want an end to this war. Public sentiment is changing. 75 % of Americans now want us to stop all arm sales to Saudi Arabia. With each of these war powers votes we brought more public attention and more scrutiny of the coalition’s war crimes in Yemen. This is no longer the “forgotten war.”
Recently, Bernie was at a Town Hall hosted by Fox News in Bethlehem PA. Trump won that area overwhelmingly. Sanders got a huge applause when he asked Trump on the air to sign his resolution. I think that shows more and more people want to end this war. Trump himself even campaigned on ending endless wars. But by vetoing this bill, he broke a major campaign promise. I think it could cost him a lot of Republican support and severely weakens his presidency. It’s now Congress and the American people united against Trump on Yemen.
As for the claim this was all for not, I say nope. All these successful votes helped secure a critical ceasefire in Yemen’s lifeline port Hodeida. That’s saving Yemeni lives everyday. We helped millions of Americans learn about the war and got hundreds of thousands of people to take action. We also got Congress to work in a bipartisan way to protect and reassert their Article 1 war powers.
If we keep going, I think it’s just a matter of time before we finish what we started here. Will you join us?
Hassan El-Tayyab, co-director at Just Foreign Policy